Three Threads

Three Threads by | Aug 2009 | Issue #31

Are so-called “overhyped” beers and breweries a good or a bad thing for the beer industry and community?

Jeff Miller (BA: tjseveryday)
Co-owner, TJ’s Restaurant & Drinkery (Pennsylvania)
The Good: “Overhyped” beers help create priceless marketing buzz, both for the brewery and for the bars or distributors that are fortunate enough to receive them. They can help set apart the difference between the ordinary and the destination craft beer bars.

The Bad: The problem with such frenzy is two-fold. First, these beers are often very small batches that are very expensive to produce and to distribute. Typically, these small-batch beers aren’t even profitable for the brewery. An argument could be made that this is leading to higher overall pricing for craft beer.

The Ugly: The frenzy has also created a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude. Everyone—consumers, retailers and wholesalers—is constantly in search of the next greatest thing. Meanwhile, what was out last month isn’t good enough anymore. It has become passé already.

In the short term, the frenzied beers will create new consumers. However, over the long run, it’s an unsustainable environment that will price craft beer out of most people’s budgets.

David Schultzer (BA: BellportBeer)
Owner/operator, Bellport Cold Beer & Soda (New York)
It’s both good and bad. It’s good because it intrigues otherwise macro drinkers into trying the new beer they have heard so much about. Some of those people get turned on to craft beer forever. It’s bad because some of those same people get turned off because the macro brewery that produces what I call “fake micros” really doesn’t do a good job, and those people are led to believe that this is craft beer. I could name some, but being in the biz, I won’t—just like I won’t rate beers on BA. Another thing bad about the hype is that many real beer enthusiasts never get to try them because the traders and the eBayers get to them first.

Dave Blanchard (BA: brickstoredave)
Co-owner, Brick Store Pub and Leon’s Full Service (Georgia)
I do not think any beer or brewery being overhyped can be a bad thing. If anything, it is raising awareness of craft beer. I would absolutely agree that there are certain beers and breweries that are, indeed, WAY overhyped, but this is the world we live in right now. I think it’s a great thing if a brewery can produce something that, even if marginal, gets folks excited, if not downright ecstatic! I see these releases on a weekly basis get people super psyched for a minute, and then it’s on to the next one, and the next one and the next one. We should call it the “short attention span” time for craft beer, and this is coming from a guy with A.D.D, so I LOVE it! After all, it is all about promoting—whoops, sorry—ADVOCATING beer, right?