A Good Beer Blog

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Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


Comments

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Bartzilla -

I am against any attempt to improve AB's chances of taking up any more precious shelf space for their brews.

Maybe it's just because I live in a pretty good city with a respectable brew culture, but I'm all for seeing more craft brews on the shelves and, from what I can see, there would be many that agree with me.

I'm thinking that if there's any decline in the beer market, it's because people are discovering better beers. Obviously, their interpretation of the "beer market" is much different than mine as I can't keep up with the enormous number of new, quality beers that I come across every week.

If I had :30, I'd say, "Make Better Beer" and leave the other 28 seconds as dead-air.

GR -

Bartzilla speaks for me. But for my part, I have noticed that many of Budweisers TV ads during football and hockey are hilarious. There was the series with Spuds MacKenzie, the lizards, and especially that grocery checkout line where 2 guys had to choose between TP and beer "un uh, still short".
My point is clear: mass produced beer is lacking quality and flavor, therefore large beer companies put their resources into ads and bikini teams. Bigger, folks, is not neccesarily better.

ChrisA. -

The interwined histories of America and beer has always amazed me. From the Mayflower to the founding fathers to the large regionals before prohibition to the consolidation period post prohibition to the microbrew revolution.

Better beer drinkers love to smite AB, Miller and Coors, however the reality is that we would not be where we are without those inovators. Much like any history there are twists and turns, peaks and valleys.

If the "Got Beer?" campaign embraced beer's entire history, I think all beer companies would benefit from it, big and small alike. Besides, current beer drinkers would embrace the added knowledge and it would give possible converts reason to retry the finest beverage in the land.

Coupled with touting of the large variety of styles, the above strategy would be pretty encompassing. Show that beer is woven into the fabric of America and prove that beer can fulfill the needs of any consumer of alcohol. From session beers, to IPA's, to Imperials, to extreme beer, the vastness of the beer drinking experience is not overwhelming, it is adventerous!!! Much like America itself...

Adam -

Wow! I really like that you put this up for us to see. You could have just ignored it.

I like Bartzilla's comments alot. Kind of like a call to arms :-) I like ChrisA's post as well, but, I'm not sure that AB is going to present a good history lesson. It would probably be so focused on them that the country would think they invented beer.

Helping them out is not something I would be interested in. I would be interested in donating to somebody like PBS or perhaps the history channel. THC just did something on Beer recently. It was pretty cool. Dogfish Head was mentioned a fair amount.

Thanks for the opporunity to throw in my 2 cents.

P.S. Keep posting stuff like this and we're likely to change some beer history.(ok...are you getting all misty now?...heheh) Seriously, if our hits keep going up, somebody must be reading this stuff ;-) Maybe they will buy more good beer.

Knut -

I like the slogan of the small Wychwood brewery in England: <i>Afraid you might taste something lagerboy?</i>

Seriously, they might learn something from another producer of boring lager, Carlsberg. They have started thir own craft brewery, using the distribution network of the giant to promote some great brews. (Use the Carlsberg tag over at my blog to read more about it) What I would like to see in an ad would then be:

We used years to remove the taste from our beer. The recent growth of the craft beer movement have made us see the error of our ways. We have changed our minds - we put the taste back in.
(And pigs might fly, too!)

Alan -

Remember, this is not an AB campaign but a campaign for all of beer.

Greg -

I appreciate Randy Mosher's comments in _Radical Brewing_: Beer is a 10,000 year old cultural treasure of mankind and should be appreciated as such. Of course, he means this in the context of home- and micro-brewers having saved said treasure from industrial anonymity, so it's not exactly a compliment to the big boys.

That said, it's hard to believe that this tack would work for the majority of beer drinkers. Me, I'm a dinosaur and love that kind of talk.

BTW, just found the blog and am enjoying it immensely.

Alan -

Thanks, Greg. Where are you?

Gary Spedding -

Just found you today after I have just joined the blogging community. Looks like a good site and some very interesting comments. The Craft movement is producing good beer but is still swamped in terms of getting its message out. I have recommended a new book called Blue Ocean Strategy which talks about new opportunities in a novel way and features the US wine market and the hit it is getting from the Aussies. Details are at my website (www.alcbevtesting.com). The address I left in the web address bar is my new blog site for those interested in the testing of beverages.

Best wishes,

Gary.

Scott Burns -

First, let me thank for everyone for their feedback. When I emailed with Alan I knew the only way I'd get honest feedback would be to be honest with you.

I just want to address a few things then pose another few questions.

One, as Alan mentioned, this campaign/marketing effort would be for beer, not A-B. To address Bartzilla, the US beer market is in decline as a whole. Most of the large brewers sales are flat, along with craft brewers, with imports being on a decline. I'm not making this up...this is hard, industry data. This is due to the rise of spirits & wine in the on-premise environment.

My hope is that we can help them make this about beer and not a self-serving message (let's face it...when beer does well, A-B will do well). You and I both know that if it's about A-B everyone will see right through it.

Two, Mr. Knut...Widmer, Redhook and Kona are all alliance partners with Anheuser-Busch. I would be happy to share some "things" that A-B is doing with those partners, new brews, import and new craft partners if you want to shoot me an email...some pretty cool stuff.

BUT, I'm not here to have a conversation about Anheuser-Busch...I want to find out what makes beer drinkers tick. History is something that was brought up a couple times and is a very, very interesting concept. In fact, there has been talk of funding Nat Geo to do a mini-series investigating the origins of beer (Egypt) and how it spread to so many societies.

But what about the emotional or social benifits? Is it about being with friends? Is it about sharing stories over a pint? Is about getting drunk?

Please, keep the honest thoughts coming...and feel free to shoot me an email directly.

Thanks,

Scott

nick -

To me, the emotional and social benefits both stem directly from good beer making you feel good. It just feels good to sit down and drink a good beer. Even better, sitting around with friends drinking good beer - good feelings promote good conversation. It can just create a nice, warm feeling in a gathering, either at a nice bar, sitting around a living room, or sitting around a fire out in the open. Put simply, good beer makes for good vibes.

Alan -

To quote someone I cannot recall, beer makes you feel like you wish you felt like when you were without beer.

Greg -

Hi Alan,

You're welcome. I'm in Madison, Wisconsin, home of some pretty nice beers. Perhaps I'll de-lurk and put my pin on the Frappr map.

Alan -

Join the nation! I have never driven west into Ohio and beyond but must expand my microbrew knowledge that way soon. Any stores in Wisconsin you can recommend?

GR -

Scott--you're asking, in general, how does beer fit into my life? What do I like about it most. A good question for me, 'cause I love good whiskey and red wine too. I choose beer first in social situations with simple food, or out for just a drink and snack with friends. Wine is for dinner, whiskey goes with the wife. Beer is the group sociability thing. Foosball, hockey on TV, talking and laughing.

Greg -

Hey Alan,

There may be particularly good stores in and around Madison, but I'm not sure which they are. There are many acceptable stores. We are blessed with a number of good brewpubs and microbreweries within a short distance, many of which have products available in local stores. For brewpubs, we have The Great Dane, Angelic Brewing Company, and T.J. Whitney's. For breweries, there are Capital Brewery, Gray's, and New Glarus. New Glarus makes exceptional fruit lambics which are, I believe, fairly well known.

The Great Taste of the Midwest is also held here on the 2nd Saturday in August each year. For 5 hours, you get unlimited tasting of beers from over 100 breweries, each of which bring 3-10 varieties. Tickets usually sell out the day they are issued. I'm getting tingly thinking about this year's fest.

Prost!

Knut -

Hi Scott,
I think the diversity of beer is what makes it so interesting - and that is how I have managed to blog about beer almost daily for a year. It is a strong bock full of flavour on a cold winter evening or a hoppy refreshing pale ale on a hot summer's day. It is brewed in most coutries of the globe, with lots of national and regional varieties. And it has a rich history, going back, as you say, to ancient Egypt and beyond.
Over the last few decades a lot of people have started to enjoy a much broader range of wine than they used to. It is now time to explore the even broader diversity of beer.

Chris -

That post right above mine is one of the most stupidly obnoxious things I've ever seen. Perhaps it's time to add some sort of spam or bot protection to your comment area...<p>[ed.: <i>I just delete them. This is a manual spammer and he will give up in a few days</i>.]

Alan -

[Ed.: just to be clear, Chris is not slagging Knut. I removed the spam in question.]

Alan -

And just like that, Chris, you wish is my command.