An interesting item over at Pete's this morning about his creating brewing adventure in which he raises a lot of questions:
There is a degree of cynicism about beers like this in some quarters, and doubtless there will be a few outraged trainspotters either denying that a Moroccan Saison could ever exist, or struggling to find the right place for it in beer's ever-expanding taxonomy. Sod them - it was a great beer to brew, a great beer to drink, and it makes people happy, so I'm happy too. Doubtless there is a little bit of Emperor's New Clothes around some experimental corners of beer production - as Tandleman recently averred. But I've recently been enjoying both experiments such as this, and the joys of the traditional session pint. There's so much binary, black-and-white thinking in the beer world (even the sub-editors of the above piece misrepresented it as an attack on experimental beer, when if you read what I wrote, it's patently not). We all love talking about how beer is such a wonderfully diverse drink. What on earth is the problem with diversity? And what's the problem with stretching that diversity further? If it's a bad beer, it's a bad beer. Maybe it'll be a good one next time. Thanks to Ilkley for allowing me to co-create a very nice one indeed - I hope they brew it again soon.
There are a few links in there so make sure you go to Pete's and click through. A few good questions, too. Do you agree that making up beers by daydreaming is a bad thing? Not me. I don't hunt out beers like these but pick up a few from time to time.
Those aren't the questions that immediately struck me, however. And just to be clear this isn't about Pete, consider some context. I get things. I get the right next week to go to a very fun event for free. I get access to brewers you don't get and - while I take the opportunity to ask questions about price, brand, value - the car can get laden with samples, too. Am I conflicted? Not really. I have been thinking about and am embarrassed to watch Craig run with the idea of Albany ale with, speaking for myself, the hope of making some of the forgotten unique beers that might fall under that title. And... making us a few bucks. See, the question that I asked myself when I saw Pete's post was "so what was the deal?"
I assume that if one lends one's name to the label of a beer that there ought to be some compensation for the seal of approval. And I assume that the compensation is taken into account in the retail price of the beer. As Jordan pointed out last week, brewers are business folk. They may be nice (and, secret secret... some are quite not so nice) but they are in business to be successful and profitable. So, what was the deal? What is the percentage of the cost that relates to Pete and how, for example, does the increased cost of Pete compare to the increased costs related to a drought's effect on malting barley. Every collaboration beer should raise this question in the mind of the purchaser as short run limited edition beers brewed by packs of roving brewers surely have to be more expensive to brew beyond just brewing those beers with, you know, that subtle hint of Uruguayan herbs and seeds melding with Antarctic ice water.
So, it is not about Pete. It can be extrapolated to the cost of me, too. How does that get expressed? And if there is no fee, no cost to the purchaser at the retail level... why not?