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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Alan -

Within fifteen minutes of posting this, a pal on Facebook posted a picture of a moose attacking a man on a snowmobile. That's what really happens in the woods.

Stan Hieronymus -

Alan - As we bantered back and forth about this during the day I continued to think we were talking about two different things. I'm probably wrong - just based on percentages - but now I'm thinking it is that it is a matter of viewing the video/commercial from an entirely different viewpoint. And not just the whole woods thing because I've camped in the woods of central Oregon.

You are looking at is at a Deschutes commercial - fair enough, since that's what it was. I am looking at it as decent music, nice pictures, people enjoying themselves. That's the primary reason I linked to it.

Alan -

No, I am looking at it as a vid. A music video or a short movie. But these are actors giving a message. Just have no idea what it is.

Alan -

But going on the down means "Going Down The Road" too.

Dan -

Obviously, I'm not the demographic they are targeting. I'm too old I guess. It's a pastiche of every cliche the outside holds concerning the self-absorbed young residents of Oregon.

Jeff Alworth -

Alan, I am mystified by your mystification. When I first saw it, I was surprised by the nudity as well, but otherwise, this is as pure and obvious a narrative as I've ever seen. I'm not actually sure what you're not getting.

- Girl strips off her shirt to go skinny dipping. True, she's half nekkid onscreen for about a second, but this is, narratively anyway, in keeping with the whole camping trip. Oregon waters are meant to be swum in. (Except the ocean, where you have nine seconds before lethal hypothermia sets in.)

- He doesn't grab her off the street. They've had a fight and he's shown up on her Portland doorstep to woo her. She isn't exactly wooed--it will take a few days in Oregon's outdoors to seal the deal, but she allows the wooing to begin. How is this not clear? And they might have chosen the banjo because, oh, I don't know, the song starts ... with a banjo.

- The bridge is across Mirror Pond. Maybe this is only evident to Oregonians, but the whole little movie is a document of Deschutes locations. You start with Mirror Pond, then see Black Butte Mountain, the obsidian fields from Obsidian Stout, an moment of inversion, where clouds are below and the clear sky is above, and so on. This stuff is catnip to Oregonians, incidentally.

- It's not really Oregon's fault that the landscape reminds you of a slasher flick, I don't think. Or anyway, not Deschutues'. Since they named their beers after local landmarks and the film--cleverly called Land Marks--trots us past them, they couldn't do a lot about that.

I'm also not sure what's unclear about the notebook. He's wooing. She's letting him. He sneaks a chance to write something romantic in the notebook. She is charmed. And wrap.

I could see how the "twee urbanity" (to use a phrase from the New Yorker when they discussed Portlandia) would offend. I could see how the plot, which panders to our sentimentality and cheats by using beautiful Oregon as an accomplice, would irritate. And I could see how you'd rather they, you know, talk about the beer. All fair enough.

I give Deschutes credit for trying a different kind of marketing and attempting to communicate what they think about their beer. Stan said it's about beer in people's lives, and that's what Deschutes is communicating. If you're young and living a good and true Oregon life, you have Deschutes along. Thirty years ago, Henry Weinhard's did the <a href=http://beervana.blogspot.com/2006/10/blitz-weinhard-commercial-from-60s.html>exact same thing</a>.

I don't know, maybe it's just too densely Oregonian for others to get. It's really designed to ring our bells. (And it works.)

Alan -

Thanks for the italics, Jeff. That sure helps make me agree with you. Great rhetorical style. But "too... X... for others to get"? Really? Let me know when you feel comfortable enough to lower yourself to my level anytime you want to talk.

Back to the movie and off the regionalista rage, I now think he is really trying to training her to be a beer ticker. That's what the notes in the book are about. He wrote "87/100" next to her Mirror Pond label. When she looks up, she now knows what she needs to do. And no one will hear him scream.

Thomas Cizauskas -

Budweiser had its Clydesdales. Deschutes has skinny-dipping. I choose the latter.

Alan -

See, that's where this is leading. It's the innocent who suffer.

Jeff Alworth -

Alan, I was not intending to be a jerk, I was just exasperated. I apologize for the tone.

Imagine it was written in more gracious manner but with all the same points. I didn't actually intend to convince you of anything, but I was trying to take up your offer of discussion (rather than close it off). How would you have responded to it then?

Alan -

No, it is I who are giving you the gears. I was too gruff but left it up to then apologize rather than pretend that I never snarked. Better to have snarked and apologized... than to... than to...

I can't complete that. How would I have reacted? I think it is more fun not arguing about this as the art itself (a short film) seems to be attracting plenty of responses from a wide range of view with a wide range of conclusions. I have to be honest with myself about it but must also admit how it reflects upon myself.

So if I am not 48 going on 49, if I go back to the years of single-hood and dating 30 years ago, as an early undergrad I would have thought the music was a real sell out as bands don't place music in commercials; I would have thought the nudity jarring and out of place; I would have found the love story artificial, querky and 2D. But as similar or replicating empty landscape is so common in Canada and, as I am not from where you are, not iconic, it's just a barren in bits. It creates a certain response in me not only because of the (sub-)slasher feel but the apparent mindlessness of the characters. They sure drink a lot on their dirty weekend.

But it reaches for something which is to be congratulated if not rewarded. It is not another "Hooray for Brewers" boring boring video. I wish it did not make the beer seem like a drink for disfunctional loners. But I am pleased with the effort and would want to see more of this sort of thing as, above all, it tries to notice that drinkers actually exist in the supply chain.

Jeff Alworth -

Another interesting thing about the gambit is that Deschutes plopped this on their blog and pretty much did nothing else. Zero promotion. It came out months ago.

If I were to put on my "brand" hat, I'd say this was an effort to dodge the geezer set and market directly to young drinkers (who might have fifty years of brand loyalty to offer). Oldsters like us have already been through the histrionics of youth and it seems vaguely embarrassing to us--and phony. But if you're 25, this probably looks edgy and honest. Anyway, I bet that's the calculus Deschutes was working with.

Whether that makes it more or less admirable is hard to say.

Alan -

Well, if I have to be honest if I have anything to give the good people of Deschutes it's whatever level of buzz my little drum can generate. I think detailed comment and all these multiple perspectives gives them lots of great feedback. I can't imagine they are of the boneheaded obstructionist school of client feedback gathering.

Zac -

Wow. Alan, I appreciate that you have your own perspective on this video and are willing to stand by it. We'll have to agree to disagree, I suppose.

FWIW, I think Jeff nails it. I also think your accusation of sexism is a bit hyperbolic. It's not as if the camera lingers over the woman's exposed breast. There's a brief moment where she's making herself vulnerable to him and it's playful to boot. Still, I'll have to show it to my partner who's a Women's Studies prof to see what she thinks.

Alan -

Get back to us on that. We have months of work ahead of us!

Jeff Alworth -

I would be shocked if someone from Deschutes hasn't read this. (Hi, Gary!) My guess is they're delighted.

Incidentally, one more comment on the "too Oregonian for others to get" which can indeed sound dickish. My point was that Oregonians are famously parochial and we love love love any reference to Oregon. So littering an ad with Oregon landmarks is wise dog-whistle stuff. Rubes like me lap it up. I can see, however, how it might not be universally seductive.

ATJ -

I must admit from a British perspective it was pretty cool, bit road trip-ish, not sure about the music, but it was miles better than something like the Bombardier advert, which was all shouting and innuendo — for me this was about beer being low key sexiness and love and just being there (was probably more shocked that such a demure looking babe would have a whole arm sleeved, but then that’s just me…).

Jason Randles -

Landmarks is a film we put together to tell a story, to visually connect the names of our beers to the Central Oregon landmarks for which they were named. It's not intended to be a commercial but a short artistic film that we feel communicates what the Deschutes brand is all about. We love the fact that it is creating conversation and have enjoyed reading the blog posts that have popped up this week. Like art, and certain styles of beer, not everyone will appreciate it, and that's ok. But we didn't want to play it safe because we knew if we did, conversations like these wouldn't happen. So we took a risk and pushed the envelope a little bit to grab your attention. Thanks for watching the film and for taking the time to post your comments. Cheers.

olllllo -

Whoops, the Po Po.
Quiet everyone.

Alan -

I wonder how the same video works to National Velvet's "68 Hours"? Maybe that's what's been bouncing around in my head when I think creepy.

Alan -

People talking about people talking about this.

wallace -

I love it