Why I Do (and Don’t) Want More People to Like Craft Beer

[Enter obligatory sentence(s) on the growth of craft beer]. With that being the case, I have reasons why I do and don’t want more people to like craft beer. Let’s start with the don’ts — the thoughts people won’t say out loud.

The Unheard of Band Effect

I wasn’t here first. My love of craft beer is still in it’s infancy. This blog that I started in January was my way of trying to embrace and expand my love of the stuff. But I was a part of the movement before the person discovering craft beer today was. And that upsets me, and probably you, a bit. I call it the “unheard of band effect.”

The unheard of band effect is what happens when a band you’ve been listening to for some time suddenly becomes popular. Fun.. Mumford and Sons. M83. [Insert your favorite former unheard of band here]. They become mainstream and what happens? You try to justify how you listened to them for years. You even have some rare EP with a live version of their new single that’s being played on the radio but what happens? No one cares. The band grows, still creating great music, and your roommate who would yell about that noise you used to play now proudly touts a t-shirt with the band on it. You’re left with two options. 1) Abandon the band you’ve been loyal to for years and move onto a different band or 2) sigh, suck it up, and continue listening to them and cheer on their successes.

I’ve straddled that line with bands many times but ultimately I tend to choose option 2. I don’t think this is far from happening with craft beer though. I already see craft beer lovers slowly starting to dabble in other spirits like whiskey. There’s nothing wrong with whiskey (it’s my liquor of choice when I go that route) but I don’t want people who have been with craft beer for years to choose option 1 and move onto a different band. They’ve been loyal to “the cause” of craft beer and their experience is needed while more and more people enter into our niche.

Why I do want more people into craft beer

I don’t really not want more people liking and getting into craft beer. The “unheard of band effect” example above is just some superficial, suppressed emotion that I think a lot of people, me included, have. But we can’t let it get in the way of the expanse of craft beer. Let’s all be option 2 people.

However, what I don’t want is craft beer becoming something that bothers me when I hear people talk about it. Let me explain…

I was at the Nationals game yesterday and the person behind me who “grew up watching baseball” knew “we need to take that dude out of the game” after the starter gave up two runs in through two innings. And the center fielder was not trying since he didn’t lay out on a shortly hit flyball to shallow center when the bases were empty and there were two outs. Chill. 1) They have real names. 2) You don’t pull a starter after giving up two runs in the first two innings. 3) The CF just had a 29-game hit streak snapped, reinvigorated the team over the past month doing so which got them into the playoff hunt, and will most likely win the Gold Glove award. Needless-to-say it only took a couple innings before I was running over to the beer line to fill up on $9 16oz Sam Adams.

I don’t want craft beer being overran with people who think they know beer and what and how it should taste. I don’t even know what it should taste like and I’d like to think I know a little more than the craft beer newbie. That’s what I don’t want. I don’t want to be sitting at a bar and listening to a guy in a pastel polo with crabs on their cloth belt bad mouth a perfectly fine beer. I can imagine it now… “I’m paying $7 for a beer that’s not cold?” “Bartender, there’s too much head on my beer.” “Why am I drinking out of a wine glass?”

This morning I asked for help on this topic on Twitter.

Here are a few responses:

Jeremy Danner, brewer at Boulevard made the best point:

The sarcastic, goat-loving father from the heartland is absolutely right. We don’t want craft beer to become wine. Let’s drink, share and laugh. Cheers.

What do you think? Do you want more people to like craft beer?

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11 thoughts on “Why I Do (and Don’t) Want More People to Like Craft Beer

    • Bill, bandwagon fans are annoying, but they never get that all around feeling of satisfaction someone who has stuck around through the bad times and has dealt with the highs and lows. Think about this….we’re Pens fans right? Well, no matter when you became a fan it’s fun to watch Sid and Geno tear the league up and it was euphoria when they when they won the Cup a few years ago. But how much better did it feel for you when you sat back and thought about the fact that just a few years earlier you had to sit through a team led by Rico Fata? Or that the team itself had one foot in Pittsburgh and one in Kansas City? The bandwagon jumpers didn’t experience that part of the win.

      But keeping craft beer and sports as the analogy, we can always pick and choose who we celebrate the hobby with. I love sports and could talk about it just as much as I do beer, but I’m very choosy about who I actually listen to for analysis. I don’t want to listen to debbie downers (Skip Bayless) dismiss everything someone does on the playing field just like I don’t want to listen to someone who does nothing but heap praise (ala Ron Jaworski).

      Long comment (not really) short, there are always going to be people who enjoy the same hobby we do that we don’t share much in common with. Ignore them and see what the next person has to offer.

  1. Your second point worries me, too. I’ve already seen it with guys at work. Recently, I had a guy badmouthing ALL IPAs because they were too hoppy, and then found out he didn’t even know that there were different kinds of hops. He seriously thought all hops were just generic, run-of-the-mill hops.

    It happens with everything that gets popular (like your very apt baseball analogy) but we have one big advantage: taste is subjective, and no matter how popular beer gets, there will always be people who just don’t like it. Hopefully that alone will keep too many would-bes from ruining our nights out.

    • I have to constantly remind myself that taste is subjective. That’s because I’m a stubborn person. Especially when things are popular with the public that I’m somewhat unfamiliar with. Double IPA’s aren’t my bag. Neither are things in current pop culture. It kind of goes like this for me.

      “Why does everyone keep talking about Honey Boo Boo?”

      “What the hell is a Honey Boo Boo?”

      “Why would anyone care about Honey Boo Boo.”

      “I hate Honey Boo Boo.”

      • Yea, it’s hard in a hobby/culture where taste is the dominant sense used to evaluated quality. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t love the overwhelming taste of Belgian yeast, and often feel like I’m somehow a lesser beer fan because of it. I’ve certainly tried a lot of dubbels and tripels and other Belgian fare, but I’ve yet to develop the palate.

        And I think that’s OK.

  2. Pingback: Is This the Real Craft Beer Bubble? | This Is Why I'm Drunk

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