Thursday, June 18, 2009
Goose Down & Horsepower
During the Craft Brewers Convention in Boston this past April Greg Koch from Stone Brewing Co gave the keynote address entitled “I am a Craft Brewer.” If you have 45 min, you can view it here. Since then a mixtape-ish ode to the speech featuring a bunch of industry notables was made. You can view it here.
Unquestionably the pride in the community and craft comes through very strongly and a lot of talented guys that have devoted themselves to thoughtfully making beer get rightfully recognized, but…. I get lost when Koch's speech focuses on the overlord nature of the macro brewers and their dominance. What’s with all the whining? It’s like heading out to the playground when you’re a kid and getting whaled on by a kid that’s bigger than you. You don’t go rat him out to the teacher or sit there and cry about it, you lip up, get up, and hit the bigger kid in the head with a board. At the very least, you grab your dignity and move on.
I’m not sure how dragging down the other guy creates upward mobility. I’m grateful the big guys make beer that’s indistinguishable and strives to offend the fewest consumers. “Fizzy Yellow Beer,” is pretty great if you ask me. Fizzy, yellow beer and huge marketing campaigns give little shit breweries like my own a point of differentiation that works out pretty nicely; we want to make beer with strong characteristics and have no money for marketing campaigns. There’s a beautiful balance and a differentiation that's useful.
In the end I would hope that people aim to treat their senses to the best time they can. If knocking back eighteen Miller Lite’s tonight is really the thing that flips your switch, well, then enjoy it.
In my opinion, trying to get people feeling that big is bad and marketing campaigns muddle your mind is fine and dandy, but appealing to people’s sense of worth and enjoyment seems to make more sense.
If you sleep at my home for a night and before bed I offer you two pillows, one is thin, stuffed with twigs and covered in latex. The other is stuffed with down, hypoallergenic, and covered in a case sewn with an innumerable thread count. You’re going with latter - lets face it. Beer is no different. Some just offer richer experience. You might have to work harder to find the one that offers your reward, but it’s out there.
You’re going to the car dealership because your Ford Pinto just took a shit. You show up at the car lot, take the new Focus out for a cruise, then work out the numbers on a used Neon and realize it’s a great buy. Then pulling through the lot is brand new Porsche 911 Turbo. A guy hops out and says he’d like to offer it to you, but it’s just a little more money than the Neon. The Porsche might get horrendous gas mileage, but it’s a sleek, road-eating piece of mechanical wonder, and you’d be a jackass to walk away from it. Craft beer is this mechanical wonder designed with quality craftsmanship, uncompromisingly seeking your pleasure.
If you want to sleep on twigs and latex and drive your Neon home in the morning, then go ahead. As for me, I’ll be resting my head in comfort and hugging the turns in the 911.
Half Acre Beer Co