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Friday, January 20, 2012

Understanding Your Place

I had intended to write about the latest hullabaloo in craft beer the other day, which is, if you don't already know, that thread on some beer site about which breweries are overrated.  I won't bother with the link, because you have already read/heard about it, I'm sure.  To make a long story short, some dude was calling out breweries for not living up to the hype.  Fair argument.  Having done this myself on more than one occasion, I didn't think much of it.

But man, did people ever freak out about this!  One brewer after another started posting about where this guy went wrong, how hurtful this is to craft beer, and blah blah frigging blah.  I left it alone, assuming it was one moment in time, and would pass faster than it had started.  Then comes Jim ...

Jim Koch, from Samuel Adams, decided to put his dog in this fight and speak up about how unfair it is to be called overrated (read his deal here).  First Sam from Dogfish jumped in with his speech (it's not on his blog, so Im not linking other shitty beer sites that took it and posted it - but find it, it's worth the read), and now Jim.  To make it easier, I'll just address them both ... ahem ...

Guys - there is a phenomena on the internet called "Trolling".  People who are trolling are called "Trolls".  Their only purpose behind posting is to make people mad.  They want to bait people into conversations and responses that they would normally not even think about.  You guys were trolled in that post.  Hard.  Like, SuperTrolled.  Do you really think that your comments on how innovative your beers are will change anyones minds on your beer/product/brand?  Sam, your post was just an advertisement for your beers.  Jim, I liked yours, but it just said how mad you were and how much you like Sam.  No offense, but Big Hairy Deal.  Who cares?  The thing you have to learn about internet trolls (as opposed to those who live under bridges) is that if they get ignored, they go away.  You have to be confident enough in your product to take a punch from some nobody on a lame forum and continue walking.  Instead, you both let this dude grind your day to a halt while you penned a response that really lacked any sort of real focus or point.  This is why trolls are trolling - to get these soft responses and to laugh at them.  You feed the troll.  Never feed the trolls.

Ok, so that's out of the way.  Here's my opinon: bitching is great.  It's good from your fans, it's good for your brand, it's just a good thing.  I never understood that whole "support craft beer simply because it exists" attitude that most craft beer fans seem to have.  If the beer is good, it will sell.  If not, it will die out and leave us alone.  Right? So why the need to have ALL beer be equal?  It never will be.  Understanding that, we can then turn to marketing.  Some breweries are known more for their marketing than their beer.  I won't name any names, you all know who they are.  When you have a rad marketing campaign, you are already setting yourself up for be judged at a much higher level than other beers in your range. And, sorry to say it, but you may not live up to your marketing hype in some eyes.

I like beer.  Love it, even.  But there are beers that I feel are overrated by the general public.  Doesn't mean I'm right, doesn't mean I'm wrong.  And if I wanted to, I could post them here and feel totally fine in expressing my opinons.  Which is what that dude did on that lame forum.  So WHY all the beef?  These craft brewers are getting all over a beer guy for what - putting them down a peg?  It's the adult equivalent of "No YOU are smelly!" "No ...YOU are the one who is that thing you just called me to my face!"

The whole thing is stupit.   Yes, I said STUPIT.

Beer makers should really feel ok with hearing bad things about their beers.  Ignore the fluff and accept the rest.  The last thing you want to do, though, is to make a long-winded post in response.  It makes you look silly.


  1. Right off, good post. Sam has fed the trolls before so this wasn't new. But as you point out, he's becoming quite good at turning these episodes into a "Gee, it's not over-rated if it's fantastic" guerilla marketing offense. Bravo. Jim? Not so much... strikes me as though he half-assed his way into this fight through the haze of where his morning hangover ended and his first morning's Boston Lager picked up. Marketing's marketing. Troll's are trolls. That covers it.

    I completely agree about needing to make the point of supporting GOOD craft beer, not ALL craft beer. When some douche starts saying All Republicans are decent, you have to start making excuses for that frothy cocksucker, Santorum.