Rooting for the little guy

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by draheim, Jun 22, 2013.

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  1. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,878) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Society

    Everybody loves an underdog. And something that I really like about beer is that, relative to a lot of other businesses anyway, the playing field is relatively level. Sure, the bigger breweries enjoy advantages that smaller breweries don't. On the other hand, they probably also deal with more logistical complexities. At the end of the day, though, it's all about the water, malt, hops and yeast—and what you do with them.

    So I ask you, BA brothers and sisters: do you, either intentionally or subconsciously, rate a beer higher/lower if it came from a tiny startup brewery than if the exact same beer came from one of the larger breweries? Are your expectations higher or lower knowing that your beer was made in small batches, hand-bottled, and distributed maybe to just a few local establishments (or brewery only), or that it was made in huge tanks, sent through an expensive bottling/canning line, and distributed relatively fresh across the country and maybe even beyond? Which, to you, is more impressive?

    Open a tasty brew and discuss. Cheers!
     
  2. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (567) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Trader

    Some really little places make great beer
    Some really little places make shitty beer

    If it's good, it is good (to me). I don't spend time actually putting it on paper but my impression and any "rating" I give is how much I enjoy it. If anything, there are so many little breweries popping up everywhere I have found they are having a harder time matching the quality of the "bigger" guys who have done it so well so long. I try to go local as much as I can but the product has to stand on its own merits. The details you mention--distribution, batch size, etc may affect the product but when it hits my tongue, I am not evaluating the journey.
     
  3. starkmarvelo

    starkmarvelo Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2010 Texas

    Don't really know about rating them differently, but I am a big Almanac fan, and haven't even had any of their beer yet. I just like their concept. So yeah, I might give them a bit higher marks. I do feel however that once a brewery/beer reaches a certain level of fame, people tend to rate it a bit higher.
     
  4. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (539) Feb 22, 2011 California
    Trader

    I can't imagine why anyone would give a shit about the size of the brewery. A small place that's local to you? Okay probably overrated. A small place 2000 miles away? Who cares? If anything people probably underrate them.
     
  5. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Aspirant (224) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    I judge only by the qualities of the liquid itself.
     
  6. deadliest

    deadliest Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2009 Texas

    If I can state that I'm doing something subconsciously, am I still doing it subconsciously? Maybe I should think about this sober...

    At any rate, limited products of any kind get overrated some because it's just plain easier to defend the love of something that other people haven't had the chance to try. That goes for beer, music, food, whatever.
     
  7. AaronRodgersMVP12

    AaronRodgersMVP12 Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2013 Wisconsin

    so sick of these threads
     
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  8. BeardedWeasel

    BeardedWeasel Initiate (0) Jun 22, 2013 Sweden

    I give it credit based on the brew. Expectations come from what a brewery has done in the past, so a place with little/no profile throwing out a badass brew is surprising, but I do not adjust my overall rating based on their prior work or expectations. I mean, a girl who is 6/10 is 6/10 whether or not she's surrounded with fat chicks
     
  9. DmouthCaliBrewz

    DmouthCaliBrewz Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2013 New Hampshire

    to the op: no, I don't think I am biased towards the little guys at all. In fact, IMHO, most (keyword most: not all) of the little guys can't do it as well as the bigger ones. Now when I say big, I am talking relatively big, not MBC big. "Craft Beer Big." Granted, there are a TON of exceptions (i.e. most of the sought after beers on this website) but if you compare the one or two "little guys" per state that turn into w@lez on this site to the thousands of "little guys" out there, then the differentiation becomes clear. It takes a lot of talent to make good beer, and those that can continue to make good beer on a large scale require an immense amount of talent and quality control. Just look at Stone, Ballast Point, Avery, Oskar Blues, DFH, etc. They are quite large compared to an operation like HF, Lawsons, CW, etc. and distribute to almost every state, but make some of the best beers in every style on the market. You continue to buy it because you know it will always be damn good. However, supporting the little guys is still incredibly important in order to foster growth and further encourage the craft beer segment of the market. I love the little guys that are run by a talented enough brewer to actually make world class beer (i.e. alpine, RR, HF, alchemist, Lawsons, Prarie, etc.) and spew the occasional wh@le, and actively trade in order to try their offerings. But aside from those that are known for being incredible, I would be lying if I told you I would rather have a random beer from a local brewpub, then a beer I already know will be great. Not saying I wouldn't want to try new beer as well as support the little guy out of a moral obligation, but the big guys are big for a reason.......
    Holy fuck dude drink their beer hahaha its mind-blowingly good.
     
  10. domnalbrecc

    domnalbrecc Aspirant (205) Jan 31, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I think this has more to do with business practices than with business size...like the whole food industry, really. I'd rather support the small organic farmer down the street who is conscientious about not just what he produces, but how, than the giant corporations using GM plants and such.
    I treat beer the same way. I love to support the local brewers, provided they're putting out something decent while using quality ingredients. I'd rather drink a raspberry wheat beer brewed with real raspberries that is made 500 miles away than one made with raspberry syrup that is brewed 2 miles away.
    I don't want to look at a breweries sales, distribution, or profit margin...I just want to know that they're producing a quality product using quality ingredients.
     
    DmouthCaliBrewz likes this.
  11. Feel_the_Darkness

    Feel_the_Darkness Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2012 Virginia

    I judge on quality alone. The only thing I'd equate into a local brewery's rating is atmosphere if I'm drinking at the brewery itself, but I'd make sure to notate that instance specifically.
     
  12. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,972) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    I do like the little guys best, I do always look for their beers first, and do credit them for great beer more than I credit the big guys. I try not to let it change how I rate the beer, but I admit to the bias, and it is hardly subconscious. I am hoping many many more people in the NY area have the same bias haha.
     
  13. RblWthACoz

    RblWthACoz Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Ditto. I will try anything from Almanac that they put out. Hope you get to try their stuff at some point.
     
  14. InVinoVeritas

    InVinoVeritas Devotee (442) Apr 16, 2012 Wisconsin

    Sorry Aussies for the inappropriate title of this thread :grinning:
     
  15. starkmarvelo

    starkmarvelo Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2010 Texas

    I plan on it this weekend.
     
  16. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Zealot (510) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    No.

    And BTW, if someone was doing it subconsciously, how would they know?
     
  17. RyanGoodman

    RyanGoodman Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2011 Bolivia

    The "bigger" craft breweries were the little guys of yesterday. Astonishingly good beer comes out of all sizes of breweries. I think we've all had homebrewed beer that could hold it's own with other incredible craft brews. Let's not forget the reason we joined this website....which was to advocate beer, not to pit big vs. small. If you pay attention, you'll see that even the macros don't get bashed by the founders of BA, nor anyone else who is a real beer advocate.
     
  18. GreenCoffee

    GreenCoffee Initiate (90) Jul 2, 2012 Illinois

    What I want to know is where people are finding the "+10 immunity to Taste Bias Factors" Ale that makes them so certain they are a bastion of pure objectivity.

    I hear it wins a lot of blind taste tests.
     
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  19. RJM

    RJM Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2013 Djibouti

    I call bullshit on anyone saying that it 'doesn't effect their taste at all'. There is a reason places spend so much time and money on their labels and on marketing - because it DOES have an effect on your opinion of the brewery whether you like it or not. Denying this is futile and just leaves you more open to it being a problem for you.

    So unless you blind taste every beer you drink, without knowing where it came from, then you are not judging 'just the liquid'.

    So yea, I prefer stuff that I know is from small places or at least from 'craft' brewers over macro breweries, and I definitely do have a bias there. I'm more willing to ignore faults in a beer from a smaller brewer than from a large one. If I get a beer from some brewpub and it's a little off, whatever, but if I get a blue moon that's obviously from an infected batch, I'm going to be upset.
     
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  20. rtrasr

    rtrasr Disciple (326) Feb 16, 2009 Arkansas

    I love small breweries, I personally think their products are better, less processed. I think honesty in the rating process does them a greater service. Because of their small size, they are better able to make adjustments to their products. I also have some problems with the way beer is rated but that is another thread.
     
  21. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (13,753) Mar 18, 2010 California
    Society

    Absolutely not.
     
    SunDevilBeer likes this.
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