Ah, the holidays are over. Time to relax, write a few thank you notes, mail out the prizes for the photo contest and... go on an unexpected five day four night trip to the UK for work! This never happens to me but it has thrown everything that is normally dull this time of year into hectic disarray. So, this beery news round up may have to last a while or at least until the jet lag passes. We'll see. Good thing there is so much interesting reading about:
=> First, I hope you have read Andy Crouch's article "Wasted
How the craft-beer movement abandoned Jim Koch (and his beloved Sam Adams)" in Boston Magazine? It has set off a whole discussion which is extremely revealing about how we each consume information about beer. Mr B posted to Facebook that "Boston Lager remains a pivotal force in beer in the United States and, more arguably, beyond..." as well as "...no one in the United States who has done more for the advancement of craft beer than Jim Koch. Period." Another comment maker, some guy
Brian Bowman with a blog wrote "The whole exchange underscores a point that presents an ever-increasing divide between the old guard of Sierra Nevada/New Belgium coveting cicerones from the late 1990’s and the palate of these godforsaken insatiable millennials." About as broad a range of responses as I might imagine. I just was pleased that the article was as articulate, well sourced and independent as any I have ever seen written about good beer.
=> Next, Maureen Ogle directed me to another somewhat related article. In this case it is an interview with Rob and Kurt Widmer of Widmer Brothers as well as Gary Fish opened Deschutes Brewing Co., all of Oregon. The article is related to the one on Koch given this passage: "Kurt Widmer: Gary alluded to a point earlier on that if you’re fortunate enough to be around a while and grow, you run the risk among a certain segment of beer drinkers of not being “cute” anymore." And Fish adds on the decision to pursue commercial success at a greater scale: "If we do it right, that growth is enormously good for the consumer, because it provides more variety, higher quality and more creativity." Big grown up comments that might not sell well with those who are yet to be big grown ups.
=> I love these photos from the 1980s taken at the pub Bailey's Dad managed.
=> A week tonight I may well get to meet Jeff at his pub. The other day, he celebrated the eighth anniversary of his beer blog by explaining his renewed sense of purpose as well as that wee five year gap. He'll have to let me know where to buy hats like that.
=> Stan wrote that my hosting of The Session this past weekend "resulted in a feast of links, nicely organized... Excellent commentary included." I blush. But, more importantly, he linked to a story posted at "The New School" on the number of openings AND closings in Oregon's good beer scene. It is, again, well stated and sourced, but does point out one thing that is a wee niggling thing to me recently as found in this sentence: 'I’m always immediately dismissive whenever someone brings up the word 'saturation.' Saturation like its cousin "the bubble" is not the only issue in good beer economics that matters but it gets discussed. Too much. Sometimes as a straw man when trade magazines and consultants who are community boosters and need a cheap win. Sometimes when it is actually relevant. Like in this case. As with Andy's article above, it is simply such a breath of fresh air to read plain ideas like "[t]he indication was that they were just not good business people."
There. That'll hold you for a bit. Three really honest bits of extended writing about beer, a note from Stonch and some family photos from a 1980's pub.