Are We Having Fun Yet?
Chris Lohring, Notch Brewing’s founder and brewer, recently made some observations on today’s beer and brewing culture that we simply couldn’t ignore. In particular, he mentioned that “we have created a culture that has sucked the fun out of beer.” Sure, his words might sound exaggerated on the surface, and beer is still fun, but he makes some good points, so we’re sharing them here along with a few of our own.
• Drinking beer has become a morbidly anti-social game (see The Gamification of Beer in issue #101).
• Instead of following their own minds and palates, individuals let ratings and groupthink dictate their consumption habits.
• A handful of styles dominate the discussion, while traditional, more nuanced, and creative styles get ignored.
• Scarcity, hype and price have been equated with quality.
• Special releases, muling, hoarding and inflated values have created a secondary market full of scumbags who are ready to take advantage of you.
• Wasting the better part of a day standing in line to get a bottle or a taste of rare beer has become the norm.
• Trading has turned into a faux-value game and is less about sharing.
• People now embrace being a beer snob (i.e. an elitist asshole), and trolling brewers and consumers has become a sport.
• Entitlement has created a legion of blamers, whiners and complainers who want everything handed to them, right now, or they’ll throw a temper tantrum online and you’ll all be sorry.
None of the above sounds like fun to us.
Chris also stated that “brewers have created the consumer they deserve.” We couldn’t agree more. We’re all to blame though, from brewers to consumers and everyone in between. And it’s our collective responsibility to create a better beer culture by challenging ourselves, having those hard discussions about our community, naming names and remaining open to constructive criticism.
It’s time to put the fun back into beer.
Respect Beer. ■