It's come up twice this morning's reading. Jordan posted this on Facebook:
Why is it that price figures into wine reviews but isn't mentioned at all in beer reviews? If a six pack of something is a 7.5/10 at $12, and another six pack is an 8/10 at $15, isn't that worth mentioning in discussion?
A good observation. The relationship of beer fans to beer is a bit different economically that wine gits... err... geeks. Boak and Bailey noted it, too, this morning after chatting up... err... with some CAMRA types at a quiet-ish beer fest: "For them, the average price of a pint was a key piece of information, and they had an estimate for every pub in Exeter.
I like this issue. I have had a category for "Inputs, Price and Value" for some time now. The first entry from 2007 was titled "Are Craft Beer Prices Too Low? No, They Are Not Too Low" and it received 75 lengthy comments over two days in 2007 which immediately received strong response from Lew, Stan and Mr. B. Then it started receiving strong comment from brewers. Oddly, there was an association between price and popular or "commodity" beer that verged on implying that he who cares about price too much missed the point that beer was "special" and needed being considered outside of the marketplace. Apparently, every bottle Tomme Arthur makes bears his artistic stamp. I found and still find that view quite odd but I am certainly glad to have capture the honesty of the observation. For me, the brewing industry is entirely run on the drinker's money - my money - and I will make price an issue because it should be key. If a brewer can't make a buck - my buck - he or she simply does not deserve it.
But, looking back over the discussion, it also opened up into a more generous discussion, too. Overblown claims to value were admitted to be an issue. Challenges faced by brewers were described. And, yes, the place of simple superior quality was acknowledged. One thing, however, I was left with was an eerie feeling that for people with access, in the trade had a different view on the role of value than buyers did. But I suppose that is normal and include myself. I have been inside a few things in life - law, governments, wholesale - and realize I know what is what within those topics differently from most citizens. It does, however, make for me a responsibility to monitor the effect of the system. Maybe not as closely as the CAMRA lads B+B met but for every artistic stamp there are plenty of less expensive well made brewers that are largely exchangeable for the vast majority of good beer fans. Art is a good thing. I invest in it when I buy the music I listen to, the books I read and the nice things that sit on shelves and hang on walls. Yet one wonderful thing about good beer, after all, is that it is having ten new craft brewers in the US a week and an increasing public awareness means there is more and more competition keeping prices as modest as they should be depending on the context. This should also be taken into account in every review and certainly at every purchase.