I just re-read my last blog post. I kinda went off the rails a bit there. But that’s indicative of how passionate I get about beer. Beer geeks such as myself often draw a bit of scorn from the mainstream because of how we express our knowledge and love. And, yeah, I’ve seen some fellow beer lovers get obnoxious on forums. I try to avoid that. But, for me at least, here’s where some of that misplaced enthusiasm comes from.
Imagine a bully has been lurking around you your whole life.He doesn’t miss a chance to get in your face and drill into you how uncool you are, and how you’ll never have the lifestyle he has. He proclaims that only he and his friends are “real men”, and that he is always surrounded by beautiful women and constant happiness. And you will never have anything even close to it, because you don’t act like him.
Then one day, a stranger approaches you. He’s friendly and quick. And he presents you with irrefutable proof that, not only is the bully full of shit, but that the lifestyle he represents is extremely unhealthy, if it really exists at all. And, he assures you, there is always a place for unconventional people. Because smart, well informed, people who can think for themselves are fucking cool.
The bully is the mass-marketing behemoth of the Big Three Brewers (Coors, Miller, AB). The friendly stranger is craft/home brewing movement.
A bit dramatic? Perhaps. But I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s in a sports-loving family. I was constantly being inundated with ads from AB and Miller. Clydesdales. Spuds McKenzie. Bbbuuuuuuuuussssshhhh! Bikini-clad super models. Football players. I was a Doctor Who watching nerd. I was the butt of the jokes. And their tactics haven’t changed, from what I can tell. The loudmouth braggart is still spouting off, using terms such as “drinkablility” to excuse the lack of quality in his product.
And what he’s selling is crap. Macro-brews are to beer what McDonald toadburgers are to sandwiches. Everything that made the original not just good, but good for you (IN MODERATION), has been leached out and replaced with substandard ingredients in the name of cost savings. The barley has been replaced with adjunct grains such as corn and rice. Hops, and their healthy benefits, are reduced to a minimum. And I personally have never viewed a commercial from the big brewers and come away with the message, “Moderation is the key”. With their depictions of parties, quite the opposite, in fact.
Thankfully, I now recognize those ads for what they are. Lies designed to sell a product. I don’t need what they’re selling. I’ve got better.