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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Bailey -

I'd happily try a beer brewed in collaboration with a beer writer if I saw one on sale at about the normal price for a pint.

Jordan St.John -

I've done some of this collaboration brewing, and I've come up with some really interesting things and some fairly standard things. We brewed an ancho chili infused breakfast stout that went over gangbusters. Also, we did a saison flavoured with staghorn sumac, which I think was the first beer ever to use that ingredient commercially (Jolly Pumpkin had the same idea at about the same time, so it's hard to judge).

I think that these collaborations are useful because beer writers have the ability to step back and look at what hasn't been done and wonder what could be. Brewers can do this too, but they've got to focus on how the beer in fermenter 7 is doing and whether the cask is settling out properly and cleaning the tun and all of that stuff. It's essentially just outsourcing innovation.

Alan -

You know, I don't think of what you do or what Pete did as "collaboration" brewing so much as, pardon the title, "celebrity" brewing in that it is primarily one person's ideas being facilitated by the other. Collaborations for me are more when Stone and Mikkeller and Jolly Pumpkin and Allagash all get together to make a muddle.

That all being said, I hope you took a fee as people paid for the stuff.

Bailey -

Couldn't the brewer equally expect payment from the writer? For all that raw material and time on an exercise which raises the writer's profile and increases their hands-on experience of brewing?

(No idea if money changes hands for these things. Have always assumed not.)

Alan -

Well, couldn't the brewer say the same to the maltster? The one with the retail point of contact ought to pay.

Bailey -

Pro beer writers are selling a product, too.

Alan -

So this is a loss leader like the cans at the end of the aisle?

Jordan St.John -

In my brews, money has never changed hands. I think it's a good mental exercise for me and a good deal for the brewer since promotion means it will sell out.

recently I bartered writing a standard operating procedure for a pilot system for the ability to brew on it. I thought that was fair. It makes me look credible and allowed me to compete in the Ontario IPA Challenge at Volo. No doubt someone is making a small amount of money off of it, but I'm using their equipment, so I don't begrudge a small profit for putting up with me.

Alan -

No wonder beer writers get nowhere. Thanks for blazing that trail, ye pioneers.

Bailey -

It seems like a fair swap to me. I'd always assumed beer writers did it because it was fun, as much as anything else.

If they're consulting, writing copy, designing market strategies, etc., then they probably ought to get paid for it.

Alan -

Make an ad for a fee but the subject matter of the ad for free? So are beer writers like interns?

Fun. There's a career path.

Bailey -

If they were doing all the boring bits and making the tea, and then got no credit for the finished product, they'd be like interns.

Fun *as much as anything*, i.e. publicity for both parties, industry connections, and insight into the brewing process which increases their cred as 'experts'.

Which aforementioned cred leads to paid consultation work, book deals, TV appearances... It's not that it doesn't pay, just perhaps not on the day. It's the long game.

Alan -

The day that as far as I can tell has lasted since Richard Boston in the Guardian in the early 70s.

Jordan St.John -

Bailey has the general idea. It's kind of a plimpton thing.

Alan -

Oh, I got the idea.