Open Letter To "Beer Snob" Backlash

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by GregoryVII, Mar 25, 2013.

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  1. Tballz420

    Tballz420 Meyvn (1,187) Mar 4, 2003 Minnesota

    Beer snobs suck.

    I don't really care who owns a brewery as long as they don't degrade the product.

    Not sure why these two topics are tied together though
     
    RobertColianni and cavedave like this.
  2. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (733) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    The Brewer's Association statement was a mistake, but I agree with the intent behind it. I'm one of the older guys here, and remember how bad it was in what was essentially American beer's dark days (not lovibond related) of the 70's and 80's. So, it matters to me who brewed my beer. I'm not calling for a boycott of the big boys, make your own choices. I'll make mine.
     
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  3. macrosmatic

    macrosmatic Poo-Bah (2,015) Mar 9, 2006 Florida
    Beer Trader

    What do you have against the North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes???
     
  4. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Poo-Bah (1,863) Jan 31, 2005 California
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    Well said cavedave. I too am from the era mentioned. It was a beautiful, adventurous time discovering great beers, and new brewers. Ahhh, and Brent was still playing keyboard and adding the most soulful vocals to the Dead. Anyway, I digress. Your point about us, the BA's, being s key part of the marketing of craft beer...Yes, I am a willing pundit, have been for years. And as time marches on, I have a hard time getting my hands on some of those gems that used to sit on the shelf for a month or more...ie Parabola, BCBS, etc...

    So this is progress.
     
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  5. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    It just takes a lot of research and time to figure out if buying beer from Goose Island is better or worst for the beer industry and society as a whole than buying from say Rogue. And those effects on the beer industry and society would have to be pretty profound for ownership to become as much as a factor to me as taste and price. Goose Island still employs alot of good people in my area, has a couple of good brew pubs, has tap takeovers at local bars that promote craft beer. They still have plenty of people passionate about craft beer working for them. If Goose Island went out of business I would guess it would still affect my local area more than if Rogue went out of business. But I don't buy their beer based on any of that, I buy it because it tastes good.
     
  6. AnotherImperial

    AnotherImperial Aspirant (239) Oct 29, 2012 Arizona

    I considered writing a long response to this post, but then I realized I could sum up my thoughts in one sentence (or two, I suppose, if you're including this one)...

    If the quality of BCBS remains unchanged, I will continue to drink as much of it as I can.
     
    yemenmocha likes this.
  7. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2005 Minnesota

    Part of why talented people go into particular industries and make money is because they are passionate about what they are producing or selling. Passion leads to success, both financial and otherwise.
     
  8. jahbulon

    jahbulon Initiate (0) Jan 25, 2013 New York

    drinking only non-bmc beers is like trying to convert your entire pantry to organic fair trade only products and trying to buy all your clothes and other bullshit made in america. It's a false sense of virtue that some people are willing to trade for a good tasting beer.
     
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  9. Satchboogie

    Satchboogie Savant (976) Oct 16, 2010 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    I don't think anyone here has issues with marketing, it's the fact that (in our opinion) BMC products are pure marketing, their product is almost irrelevant. Sure some, likely many craft brewers bullshit with marketing, but their good product is the reason we are giving them money, not because they advertise.

    I really disagree with this. There are MANY nano/micro brewers who decided to go pro solely for their passion of beer and brewing. I know homebrewers who are working to go pro because that's their passion. Everyone needs to make a living somehow, just because you make a profit doesn't mean it's your only motive. There are plenty of brewers who work hard for an honest living because they LOVE their job. You think struggling jazz musicians only motive is making money? Really?
    The key point here is the motive. Great brewers want to brew great beer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them advertising their products. It's brewers who's only concern is their profits, NOT their beer, that many of us have a problem with.

    Anyone advocating anything can be considered marketing. Again, there isn't a damned thing wrong with marketing. The problem is when the product is just a marketing ploy, as is the case (in my opinion) with the big 3 brewers. Marketing a good product = fine. Using marketing to try to convince people to buy a shit product (my opinion) = a problem with me.
     
  10. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,252) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Well, I agree with you that all marketing is marketing, and that means you agree with me. You buy into the shit product scenario despite the fact that 90% of beer drinkers don't think AAL is shit. That, my friend, is marketing, it is you doing the marketing, and there is nothing wrong, as you say, with marketing, even when it is us doing it, and I agree with you.

    When you have the money you go on TV during the superbowl and advertise, when you don't have the money or the market share you get the message out that your competition is shit any way you can. And like you agree, it is all marketing, and there is nothing wrong with it.
     
    Tballz420 likes this.
  11. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    Yea because all those PhD's are passionate about toothpaste, hand lotion, and feminine hygiene products...
     
  12. GregoryVII

    GregoryVII Initiate (150) Jan 30, 2006 Michigan

    I don't think anyone has ever started a business with the intent of losing money. All people who get into craft brewing want to be successful and want to make money. And yes, they want to market their beers. And yes, I willingly and often market for my favorite brewers. Granted, granted and granted.

    Now, can we focus on where BMC and smaller craft brewers diverge and have a serious discussion on those points? Brewing beer is (or least should be treated as) a craft. Craft approaches art. Most authors want to make money off of what they write. Most musicians want to make money off of what they produce. But if they are truly artists, they care just as much if not more about the quality of what they are producing. They want to move people. They want to make people experience something new, something unique, in the best of cases change their lives. They don't want the only options in music to be focus tested, manufactured and everything to sound alike. And no, this is not a hipster rant.

    We didn't get to this plethora of choice because of BMC or their business practices. We got to this place of choice because people, who did want to make money, also wanted to blow people away with the amazing flavors they were able to coax from grain, hops, yeast and water. They wanted to show off. They wanted to impress. They wanted people to fall in love with what they had crafted.

    I get the sentiment of "drink what tastes good" and I will never tell someone they shouldn't drink what they like. Instead, I will advocate for brewers who I think are doing things the right way. Right way to me means you provide hops to smaller brewers who don't have the same purchasing capabilities as you do, like Sierra Nevada does. Right way to me means you create a foundation to help start up breweries and restaurants get off the ground, like Jim Koch did. Right way to means recommending another small brewery to me up the road as a local place I visited last week did. I will advocate for that. Not because I hate BMC. Not because I think you should never drink their products. I will advocate for that because that's what advocacy is.
     
  13. dan027

    dan027 Initiate (0) Mar 28, 2011 Pennsylvania

    First of all, that avatar is amazing, I was seriously shitting myself when I realized who it was the other day. Classic. Also, I think a lot of people don't quite understand the negativity towards BMC and just dismiss it as snobbery. I am far from a BMC hater, mostly because I couldn't care less if they want to make tasteless beer, I think products like Blue Moon are the gateway for many people (even though that's obviously not the intent behind them) and they do make some quality product as well. That being said I definitely was of the mind set that all of the BMC hate was pure snobbery -- until I started learning a little more about them. After watching the documentary "Beer Wars" and seeing some of the shady, unethical and just straight up dick moves made by these companies I understood it a little better. That being said, this is America, there's a million companies out there like this and I can't imagine that there won't always be. Craft beer is still on the rise and like some other people on here have already stated, BMC trying to get into the craft game isn't going to stomp that out, they will most likely just be the starter kit for craft beer. And btw, not everyone is going to like craft beer, or any beer, even if BMC didn't exist.
     
    willbm3 likes this.
  14. jjchristiano

    jjchristiano Aspirant (253) Sep 24, 2009 New Jersey

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  15. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Aspirant (268) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    I am an old guy here, been legally drinking beer since 1975, and drinking good beer since 1978. I've seen too many breweries come and go, too many brands close down and be resurrected by different breweries to really care. The beers that hooked me are long gone, no problem, it's the way the market works. There will always be new beers/breweries, old breweries that change, old breweries that try to stay the same, breweries that fail. Enjoy the ride, quit obsessing over the details and drink what you enjoy, enjoy what you drink.
     
  16. Satchboogie

    Satchboogie Savant (976) Oct 16, 2010 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    See, I don't think it is all marketing. For some, yes it is. For others, it's not. I think that for the majority of microbrewers if they had the money, wouldn't spend it on superbowl commercials. For the few that do have that kind of money, like BBC, I think they have a good message, even if it is centered around their own product, which I think is a very good product.

    I also very much disagree with the idea that they "get the message out that their competition is shit". All of the pro-brewers/owners I've met talked very highly of their competition and often suggested trying/buying competitors products. When they can't keep up with the demand and know they make a top of the line product their is no reason to bad-mouth competition. Many pro brewers highly recommend homebrewing, that certainly wouldn't be smart from a pure business end as it could certainly lead to people spending more on their own brewing than on your product.
     
    GeezLynn likes this.
  17. GeezLynn

    GeezLynn Champion (856) May 10, 2009 Colorado

    You make some good points, but you haven't offered any good excuse why people shouldn't be outraged about the exclusion of August Schell. The BA was called out for being hypocritical and rightly so.
     
    GregoryVII likes this.
  18. GeezLynn

    GeezLynn Champion (856) May 10, 2009 Colorado

    Whoa buddy. This is quite the short-sighted perspective. Because they have been putting out Blue Moon for a few years, have developed a few Shock Top-like products and have started buying up smaller breweries does not qualify as "making it more mainstream". More like jumping on the bandwagon once momentum had picked up.

    Far more important are the breweries like Sierra Nevada, Anchor, Sam Adams, Deschutes, etc. that made good beer before good beer flew off shelves, along with all the people who enjoyed those good beers and introduced friends and family to the realm of beer outside of adjunct lagers. SN & SA in particular deserve credit in particular for having their products available almost anywhere, long ago.

    Also, just want to strongly disagree that all breweries have the same ultimate goal (maximizing profit). Profit is always part of the equation, but it ranks differently on different brewers' priority scales. I know of several brewers who have more demand than they can meet, but choose not to expand out for various personal reasons, despite being more than able. Obviously for some of the best, their product quality and personal reputation is more important than for others.
     
  19. FlakyBiscuit

    FlakyBiscuit Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Huh?
     
  20. RobertColianni

    RobertColianni Zealot (524) Nov 4, 2008 Pennsylvania

    /V/
     
  21. Aleducated

    Aleducated Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2013 Mississippi

    Too many people claim to not be a beer snob, then talk shit about the big three. They have their niche, they brew to reduce flavor. This doesn't consititue a bad beer. Bad beer is one with flaws and off flavors. If they intentially brew it a certain way, it isn't a flaw thus, not a bad beer. Though brett may be an off flavor in most breweries, doesn't mean it isn't intentially used in others. Same concept: just because we brew to increase flavor doesn't mean they don't brew to reduce flavor. Before you judge, think did they achieve what they wanted to? Just because you didn't like it doesn't mean its bad, especially when their market share consitently proves otherwise.

    I'm no advocate for big three, but I see it too many times people say their product is bad then advocate respecting beer. My disdain with big three is business tactics, not their beer. The beer works for a lot of people, primarily those not in this particular audience.
     
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  22. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Yes, but there are people who work for August Schell, Goose Island, Widmer Brothers and others who care about what they craft and the quality of the beer they are producing. I know this because their beer tastes good. It takes hard work, care and passion to create good beer. Each of these brewers are able to create at least a few beers that are highly rated within their respective styles and this isn't done by accident. They make some well crafted beers. When I got into craft beer I thought craft meant "well crafted" or roughly "tastes good". If it's decieded by the number of barrels you produce, or whether or not your great great grandfather used an adjunct in his beer and you have decieded to uphold that tradition, then it's simply not an important term to me. I care only about the quality of the beer and it takes passion to create good beer, so I will judge the brewer by his beer. For BCBS to taste good it takes someone who cares about the quality of what they are producing to uphold the recipe and not take short cuts. The best way to judge whether or not this is happening and whether or not a well crafted beer is being created is to taste them. You can judge by an ever changing list that tweaks its rules to keep some in and others out, I will judge by the quality of beer.
     
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  23. misterid

    misterid Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2009 Wisconsin

    say what?
     
  24. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Defender (642) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    This is silliness. I drink what I like, and could care less whether a brewery is "in it for the money". All of them are to some extent. They would be stupid not to be.

    Also, the geek vs. snob debate is getting real tired. I've been called both, don't care.
     
  25. jb123

    jb123 Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    If its good drink it. Does it REALLY affect YOUR life? "I'm not buying bcbs because AB makes it" thanks more for me and other ppl who drink good beer.
     
  26. Aleducated

    Aleducated Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2013 Mississippi

    AB and MC created "Blue Moon Brewing Company" and "Shock Top Brewing Company" to distance their names from their craft line. They've realized that their name is unappealing to some.
     
  27. GregoryVII

    GregoryVII Initiate (150) Jan 30, 2006 Michigan

    I understand the backlash against the exclusion of August Schell and I get why people are upset about that. My larger issue is the backlash against the Brewers Association trying to define "craft beer" at all. And at the backlash directed at people who suggest there is a difference between BMC and craft brewers. Anyone and everyone is free to enjoy a BMC product, but I will continue to advocate that there is a fundamental difference in a craft brewer's approach to beer compared to BMC's approach and to me that difference matters.

    Decrying someone who suggests this as a snob, or relegating the discussion solely to taste takes the story of the beer out of the discourse and is a disservice to those who do care who is making their beer.
     
    frazbri likes this.
  28. jb123

    jb123 Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Do you argue with everyone and everything?
     
  29. stealth

    stealth Defender (607) Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    What's not to understand? I’ve been further even more decided to be even more beer geek as need to do drink more as anyone can. Can you really be far even as decided half as much to have beer when go wish for that? My guess is that when one beer snob really been far even as decided once to use even go want, it is then that he has really been far even as decided to use even go want to do be more snob like. It’s just common sense.
     
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  30. RobertColianni

    RobertColianni Zealot (524) Nov 4, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I thought my response to him was enough information needed for him to seek the answer of the precious. You probably just blew his mind.
     
    stealth likes this.
  31. HipsterBrewfus

    HipsterBrewfus Initiate (0) Jun 3, 2012 Maryland

    which, do you most, can't, the least?
     
  32. papaholmz

    papaholmz Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I will drink whatever is good, no matter who brews it. I do, however, like to know who owns the brewery that made the beer I'm drinking.
     
  33. biercycle

    biercycle Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Overall, I thought your post was good. As with many different subjects, there are some people who take things a little too seriously and insist on making mountains out of mole hills, segregating the various types of people that enjoy some subject into nice little categories and ranking them, grinding axes, etc. I am generally in favor of a "big tent" style philosophy where there is room for varied opinions, we dont have to have a pissing contest over every insignificant detail, and good times are had by all.

    I get what you are saying about knowing where your beer is coming from and I am generally opposed to big megacorps like ABInbev. However, if Franziskaner or Goose Island is still being made by the same folks with the same mission and the beer continues to be of an excellent quality, then I am going to drink it and not kick myself for it.
     
    GregoryVII likes this.
  34. Smitty1988

    Smitty1988 Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2012 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    I agree sir, I wont be buying Goose Island, they are now distrubiting to AZ, not snobby, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and there are too many good local places to drink and buy from. I Won't support InBev or Walmart for alomost the same reason.
     
    Providence likes this.
  35. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    It's silliness to you, but not to everyone. Some people take behaviors by companies into account when they make purchases. Some don't. I don't blame anyone for not taking a companies behavior into account before they purchase, that's their choice, just as it is my choice to take companies behaviors into account before I purchase something. However, to write the whole thing off as "silliness" is unfortunate in my opinion, as it puts a lid on a very important conversation.
     
  36. broodog

    broodog Aspirant (222) Jul 18, 2009 Illinois

    I'm excited for the coffee snob revolution in about 5 years. People will line up outside their local coffee roaster for the latest release of Ethiopian Organic Yergacheffe beans, harvested from an altitude of 3000-3200ft. Quad Roasted on wood chips, and aged in used Cuban cigar boxes.

    Shit, is coffeeadvocate.com domain name taken yet!?

    As a home brewer and craft beer enthusiast, I say. Relax. Enjoy your beer. Who cares if it's Miller or KBS. If you want to evangelize about craft beer, do it subtly. If you refuse to drink a miller lite at a dive bar every once and a while when there's nothing else available. Then yes, you're a snob. It's just beer. Don't overlook that glaringly obvious fact. Whether you're staring at a Dark Lord, or a Keystone Light. Its. Just. Beer. Enjoy it!
     
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  37. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,252) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    This simple comment is the most cogent idea in the thread. There are no evil folks brewing beer, nor saints. It is just beer. Yes, along with dogs and grandparents, it largely enabled civilization, but at the end of the day it is just beer.
     
  38. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Defender (642) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    You have no idea what goes on behind the scenes at any of these breweries, and what their "behaviors" are. Just because a brewery is "craft" doesn't mean they don't have questionable business practices. To assume otherwise is ignorant, and yes, silly.
     
  39. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I don't assume I know what is going on behind the scenes at any breweries. I only act on information that I have received. Pursuit of more information on company behavior is being a good consumer in my eyes (albeit, a difficult undertaking). I have seen much information on behaviors Ab/inbev has participated in that I don't care for (same goes for a non-beer company like Wal-Mart). As such, I don't purchase from those companies. However, this elimination of companies I support is not relegated to just the "big guys" as folks frequently assume. For example, I recently received information about Cody Brewing taking advantage of students placed there on an internship. While I haven't confirmed this story to be true yet, I will avoid them while I gather more information, if I am reasonably satisfied that it is true then they will be on my black list too. Additionally, for a non-beer example, there is a restaurant near me that got busted for using a work force of people that they were paying less than minimum wage. The people were victims of human trafficking. I don't eat at the restaurant under any circumstances even though they are a small "mom and pop" establishment.

    It seems the silliness is your assumption that I am assuming all craft breweries behave in a way consistent with my value system. I know that's not true and thus I try to be an educated consumer. It's about looking into it and educating yourself, not painting the whole issue with a broad brush and moving on.
     
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  40. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Defender (642) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    You bring some good points to the table here. My point is that bad business practices happen way more often than most of us think. Especially in this day and age of poor economic conditions. If you really knew what went on behind the scenes of every business out there, you wouldn't want to purchase anything from anyone. It's a cutthroat world - everyone is out for themselves. That's the society we live in.
     
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