If there’s one positive thing about staring at social media feeds all day, it’s that I know a lot about what’s going on – namely, what topics in the beer industry people are griping about at any given moment. This year, the industry gave us A LOT to talk about. The following were some of my favorite beer industry social media moments of 2015.
Kicking things off (pun intended) was the infamous Budweiser SuperBowl Commercial, which pissed off a lot of craft beer folks early on in 2015.
PEOPLE. LOST. THEIR. SHIT. I remember watching this in real-time, mouth agape, in horror/shock/bewilderment/disbelief/all the emotions while grabbing my phone, opening Twitter, and watching my feed explode with Budweiser hate Tweets.
And as if the mustached dude with glasses nose-deep in a glass of beer wasn’t enough of a blatant jab at the craft beer community (which was kind of funny), the pièce de résistance was when the ad’s narrator said:
“let them drink their pumpkin peach ale, we’ll be brewing us some golden suds.”
Not more than a month prior to the commercial’s airing, Seattle-based craft brewery, Elysian Brewing Company, was purchased by AB InBev. Lest we mention the numerous other craft breweries it’s purchased that brew pumpkin/peach beers as well. Budweiser is literally talking shit about its own product.
The Twitter handle @pumpkinpeachale emerged in early February, who you can Tweet at, and openly fuss about your beer. Because there just aren’t enough Twitterers in the world to fill that void.
Onto another topic which, I cannot believe is still even an issue: sexism in the beer industry. While this is an on-going issue, it doesn’t get nearly the attention as more glamorous hot button topics such as: how did Yuengling make the top craft breweries list? Wait, is Yuengling considered craft now? But it’s owners publicly announced it isn’t craft. Has anyone noticed that the number of barrels produced annually to be considered a craft brewery keeps increasing??? But thanks to the 32nd annual Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Oregon in April, sexism in the beer industry triumphantly resurfaced – at conference meetings, in strip clubs.
The Twitter chatter surrounding this tidbit of information was actually fairly constructive, but I think the post by Oliver Gray does the best at explaining the “big picture.” As a lady in the beer industry, I can recall two specific occasions where I was made to feel awkward, somehow different than everyone else, or was downright offended. My favorite being while I was moving co2 tanks around for a beer festival. I vented on Facebook:
Generally speaking I think major strides are being made in the industry to make it more “inclusive.” Awareness is a big part of it. But there’s always that one fucking guy. Pro tip: don’t be that fucking guy.
***Side note: I’m kind of torn on how I feel we should recognize women in the industry. On one hand, I think it’s great when women are noticed and celebrated for their achievements in a white male-dominated industry. On the other, when we do that I feel that we’re simultaneously acknowledging that women are somehow on a different playing field, perpetuating the imbalance and sexism in the industry.***
And just because not everything on social media is serious or an argument: this year’s April Fool’s jokes were on point. Like Smuttynose’s Smudding:
Joke’s really on us, because a little birdie from Smuttynose told me that this stuff will actually be going into production in 2016. But, I’ll believe it when I see it (and also eat the hell out of it).
My favorite April Fool’s joke was Sixpoint’s beer dust: http://sixpoint.com/blog/recent/sixpoint-beer-dust/
And speaking of Sixpoint, joining the brewery’s lineup this year was Jammer – a stunningly delicious session Gose, which leads into a topic that trended this spring/summer: the rise of the Gose.
Pronounced “Goes-Uh”, this seemingly long-lost beer style got some much deserved recognition due in part to Sixpoint releasing a Gose as its new spring seasonal. Like, for mass production, packaging, distribution and everything. Woah.
(Ok yes…we all know Anderson Valley’s Gose game has been established and on point for quite some time – but for us East Coast folks, Sixpoint’s release, among others, was kind of big news this year.)
Two Roads Brewing & Evil Twin released its collaboration brew, Geyser Gose (also fantastic, though noticeably more sour/tart than Sixpoint’s), Kent Falls released Alternate World Gose, Rising Tide’s Gose, Victory’s Kirsch Gose. SO MUCH GOSE!
Following suit is Sierra Nevada. Releasing January 2016, Otra Vez is a sessionable Gose brewed with California prickly pear cactus and grapefruit.
No but for real…I do love Gose.
But if 2015 had to have an overall theme, representative of a single topic that continually resurfaced across all social media platforms, one that everyone seems to have an opinion about and has no reservations about sharing it, then 2015 is without a doubt, the year of the buy-outs.
2014 was the year of beer lawsuits. Remember the infamous Lagunitas vs. Sierra Nevada IPA debacle? Bells vs. Innovation Brewing, Stone vs. Kettle & Stone Brewing (+ Stone’s hypocritical fake beer SoSumi IPA, poking fun of the Lagunitas lawsuit), Rogue vs. Rogue Harbor, etc. etc.
The big buy-outs: Founders Brewing Co. partnered with Spanish brewer Mahou San Miguel (ok, technically December 2014), Duvel USA acquired Firestone-Walker, Lagunitas sold half itself to Heineken, and Ballast Point was purchased by Constellation Brands for $1 billion. Beer dweebs everywhere promptly began to whine about their favorite breweries “selling out.” Yes, the same kind of “sell out” that happens when your favorite middle school era punk band goes all mainstream and actually sells albums, now applies to beer.
Oh right, and I guess AB InBev and Miller Coors made a multi billion dollar deal or something.
The real debate always circles back around to what is considered craft. What makes craft, crafty? The American craft brewer, as defined by the Brewer’s Association:
My Jerry Springer Final Thought on the matter is: drink whatever the hell you want to drink. If you’re boycotting a craft beer just because its company “sold out,” regardless if the recipe and quality is the same, then you’re probably the kind of person who chooses to eat gluten-free and puts up a fucking stink at restaurants that don’t have rice pasta on the menu.
While you could argue that a Cicerone’s palate is more sophisticated than your average Bud drinker’s, it doesn’t make you a better person if you don’t drink macro. What you drink doesn’t make you cool. It’s quite possible that you’re a total shit bag drinking a Pliny the Younger.
Well-crafted beer excites me; that’s because craft beer is something I’m into, is literally my livelihood, and something I enjoy geeking out with likeminded individuals about. I don’t expect everyone I meet to feel the same way. I get the sense that a lot of craft beer enthusiasts take on this sort of beer missionary role, trying to “convert” macro drinkers to the good stuff, making themselves seem superior in the process, and exacerbating this “us” vs. “them” dynamic. It’s dumb. Please stop.
Cheers to 2016.