One of the great things about a niche interest is that you can hug it and call it your own. You can define it anyway you want and no one is around to tell you that you are wrong. Yesterday, Mr. Delia made an excellent and related observation about how he fears craft beer is becoming hip when dealing with a Whole Foods clerk:
...I got the feeling that my own, sad obsession with beer had become this guy’s latest fashionable accessory. Seems we could’ve been on opposite ends of the planet, even though I always manage to make beer a topic of conversation with most everybody I meet. That social, egalitarian aspect of beer I often try to cultivate now seems to have evolved into a form of elitism that I couldn’t have imagined coming from the hipster set.
You know, it is a short step from hip to popular - though to be fair a Whole Foods clerk can make a can of beans seem faux hip. Still, this is a problem craft beer faces. It may not be looming but it's out there. There are many approaches to being a beer hound these days - the precious "pairer", the tireless ticker, the rock star groupie - and there each face a problem in the light of impending hipness and popularity. What is that problem? People will make fun of you. Sure they have always made fun of you but soon it may well be in a new way. Where previously people have made fun or shared concerns about craft beer fans behind their backs, if everyone were to actually pick up a six of the good stuff every Tuesday and twelve for the weekend the idea of your special knowledge will be devalued. If everyone knows that Brooklyn 1 goes well with seafood, if your football friends have their favorite Belgian yeast strains - what space is left for the obsessive? Answer: punk will become emo once again.
Do you care? Would you switch hobbies? Or would you melt into the crowd.