One of the things I’ve always loved about the craft beer community is exactly that – it feels like a community.
Any time I’ve ever sat down with fellow craft beer drinkers, or spoke with the brewers that make it, there’s never been a sense of snobbery, or eliteness, or “well, you’ve been drinking two years less than me so clearly I’m superior.”
It’s this kind of camaraderie that sees craft beer lovers support their local brewers, and buy direct from the bottle shop when possible, to help keep as much profit as possible in the pockets of the brewer and not some corporate retail chain.
But then there’s the odd occasion when you hear of a brewer’s owners go against that, and come across as a bit of a dick. And it’s a shame, because – really – the only person they’re hurting is themselves.
More Than Just Beer Drinkers
One of the reasons I started The Craft Beer Diaries was to bring together some good friends across various parts of North America (and soon even further) to share their love of the industry.
I wanted it to (hopefully) be a place where we could highlight local craft brewers that would otherwise never reach that newer audience, either because of geography or scale.
To share great beers, and to tell the stories of the people behind the beers.
Simply put, it would be our way of giving back to a community that works so hard to deliver their labour of love to an eager public.
While you could say this site is just an excuse to drink beer and talk about it, i’d like to think that we – along with other sites and beer bloggers like us – are helping to educate beer drinkers on why they should try and avoid the big corporate brewers.
In a way, craft beer drinkers – and those that blog about it – are consumer marketers, selling products on behalf of their favourite craft brewer through recommendations, blog posts, and video reviews and interviews.
We’re just not an official part of the team.
So it’s a little disappointing – more than a little, truth be told – when you hear about the owners of a brewer disrespecting the community that, essentially, has made the brewer so successful in the first place.
You Never Know Who’s Listening
Recently, a friend of mine told me about her experience with one of her local craft brewers. She likes to share stories about craft beer, and has a pretty decent social media following that enjoys her local reviews and social media posts.
However, when she approached – numerous times – a brewer she’s been a fan of for a while about an ingredient in one of their brews, she was met with disdain, as if she should have known better than to ask such a question.
Because of that, any attempt to talk to the brewer was met with silence.
This sucks.Craft brewers who talk down to #craftbeer fans are only hurting themselvesClick To Tweet
So what if the brewer thought the question was below them? That doesn’t give them the right to basically treat someone like an idiot, just because my friend (and many more like her, including me) was not a font of all knowledge when it comes to beer.
But here’s the kicker – the brewer in question was up for review on this site.
Not any more.
Additionally, when my friend told me, I spoke with other friends who I know in the area, as well as friends who live in the distribution area for this brewer’s beer, and every one of them are now boycotting the brewer.
They’re also advising their friends to do the same.
Now…. I know, in the grand scheme of things, less than a dozen people boycotting a brewer may not be such a drastic hit on the pockets.
But you never know who these people are connected to, and whose ears may eventually hear of the treatment the brewer dished out.
And these tertiary connections could be a lot more influential when it comes to impacting the success of a brewer, especially one in the craft industry, where margins can be extremely tight.
We’re All in This Together
Now, I don’t want this to come across as mean-spirited, or childish, or whatever description you may think of when reading this.
As I mentioned earlier, I started this site because I’m a huge craft beer fan, and want as many craft brewers as possible to succeed, and sell lots and lots of beer to many, many people.
So it pains me when I hear examples like the one shared in this piece.
At the end of the day, we’re all in this together, to make craft beer reach a wider audience. Brewers that make the beer, drinkers that drink it, and reviewers/bloggers/content creators that share their latest find.
It helps no-one when there’s a feeling of “we’re clearly better than you” when it comes to your community members. Instead of putting your biggest fans down, remember there’s a reason you’re the brewer, and educate us on the question.
You never know, it may just result in someone talking about you that has the eyes and ears of people that can really take your story to the next level.
And when that happens, everybody wins.
Craft beer is all about taking it to the big guys. Let’s all support each other in doing just that. Cheers.