One of the things folk will look back on the 2007-2016-ish era of craft beer as a dominant form of branding will be its excruciating preciousness. Consider this silly article from Fortune magazine, itself one of the silliest places to find an argument defending what holds itself out as some sort of artisanal cottage industry manufacturing:
Budweiser did not respond to requests for comment. But it’d be a mistake to think the company is making these ads recklessly. Every time the craft beer world gets worked into a lather over one of these spots, it helps spread the Budweiser name. The fact that you can get a reaction today at the mere mention of that Super Bowl ad, which (with its lack of humor or cute animals) would likely have been long forgotten by this point, is actually pretty astonishing.
It's tooth achingly uncomfortable, isn't it. A big money mag pretending to unpack the obvious which is itself the tooth achingly uncomfortable tale of misguided craft believers (lacking the goldfish with whom to have an actual relationship apparently) objecting to a big beer TV ad. Except the crack in the ad is aimed at that odd beer with the fun branding that leaves the weird melon rind gak in your mouth. It's true that nobody actually cheers for the guy who brings a watermelon wheat beer. Everyone thinks "crap, why not their IPA?" And except that the article suggests that craft beer fans and brewers are "strengthening the bond" at the very same time the brand of "craft" is diluting (not boom and busting) itself - as the same brewers lose touch with the story given all that retail coin just sitting around waiting to be managed, given all the fests to attend, given the need to sit with the HR committee and go over some reports, given their futures to look after.
This has a generous measure of the truth. Not triumphant. Now it's just getting sad. The photo above is from that blog post. The weariness in the eyes captures the zeitgeist, doesn't it. My review? Beautiful image. Even the self-conscious t-shirt is marketing. The lighting just so. As Jeff wrote this week "it sounds absolutely joyless and insufferably precious." We are at the end of something. Something that will be cringeworthy one day. Fortunately beer will go on. Breweries will be born, grow and die over and over. It's not like it's going out of style. Beer is good like that. I just hope the consulto-expert class gets in front of it and finds that new hymn to sing. If only for their sake. OK, fine - only for their sake. They need to get real jobs anyway.