29 Dec 2009

Who is this guy?

I don't know who Alan Brewer is. Never heard of him, never read his opus. I assume he's someone who knows about beer, otherwise the Spanish magazine Bar&Beer wouldn't publish him. And most likely, he knows more than me, that's the least I expect from someone who's been writing on the subject for as long as he claims.

I don't know who Alan Brewer is. I've looked him up on the Internet, but wasn't able to find anyone beer related with that name. I sent emails to two of the most important bloggers from the other side of the Atlantic (Mr Brewer lives in Brooklyn) y they weren't able to give me any solid information. One of them said that he suspected the name was an pseudonym, A. Brewer (geddit?), and the other one said that the name rang a bell, perhaps someone who wrote some time in the past for a magazine.

I don't know who Alan Brewer is, but he has insulted me. Not only me, had that been the case, I wouldn't give a toss. He's someone I don't know and doesn't know me (and likely doesn't even read me). But in his article published in the latest issue of Bar&Beer, titled "Illiterate Bloggers", Alan Brewer insults all those who write about beer on the Internet.

There Alan Brewer voices his disappointment with the magazine for having hired me, saying that they have allowed the fox into the hen-house and closes saying that if the hiring standards of the magazine have fallen so low, he could recommend a homeless man he knows, who is an expert in strong canned beers of less than a dollar. In the middle he rants that the only decent thing about beer on the Internet is BeerAdvocate, that blogs are badly written and full of mistakes, that beer bloggers don't read, etc. (Nobody is going to deny that much of what's written about beer on the Internet leaves a lot to be desired, but the same can be said about what's written on the printed media. Anyway, that's something that has been already discussed by Alan, me and others).

He also tells us about his romantic beginnings as a beer writer. Of how he was one of the people that created self publishing, writing fanzines on second hand computers, which after photocopying, they would distribute in the local brewpubs. It seems to me that Brewer's biggest issue with bloggers is that we have it too easy. Everything is a click or two away, material, contacts to breweries and other people in the beer community from around the world, and what we publish becomes instantly available to anyone with an Internet connection, no matter where they are, and they can also easily contact us and leave comments that in most cases enrich everyone's knowledge.

How do we dare! Don't we understand that beer writing is is the prerogative of just a few chosen ones, who write for printed media of limited reach? The rest had better shut up and accept what these wise men say.

The whole bunch of us, people who dedicate part of our free time to share beer ideas and experiences, in several languages and from different countries, in most cases without any commercial commitments whatsoever, are doing beer nothing but harm.

And all those micro and regional brewers and distributors who contact us, let us know of news, send us samples or invite us to events. How cold they have been so easily fooled by these upstarts? Specially when they can hire the services of marketing, PR and advertising agencies.

What planet does this bloke live? No one can be so pigheaded, so out of touch with reality! He even says blogging is a phenomenon that has already expired. If so, someone should go and tell "real" beer writers like Pete Brown, Stan Hieronymus and Stephen Beaumont that they are wasting their times with their blogs, that with them they are lowering themselves to the level of the uneducated, bourgeois beer rabble.

Perhaps Alan Brewer is a better writer than all of them put together, but until I can find in a Prague newsagent something he has written I will never find out. In the meantime, I'm happy that from the comfort of my home I can have access to what countless other illiterate bloggers write about beer.

I still don't know who Alan Brewer is, but I'm beginning to think that he's a.... Well, I'd rather leave it there.

Na Zdraví!

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10 comments:

  1. There seem to be quite a few old-fashioned print writers who get very upset about bloggers. Just ignore the old twats is what I say.

    The idea of print media as somehow superior to web writing is such a bag of shit. Much of the worst rubbish that has been written about beer comes in books.

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  2. Haha! This one in particular sounds a bit like those old farts constantly bitching about how good the old days were and how lost youth is today... And he looks just as pathetic...

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  3. This could only mean one thing ...you (bloggers) are doing a great job AND...some people are so jealous!...

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  4. stefan soderberg29 December 2009 15:15

    Obviously you are passionately interested and knows a lot about beer, are good at writing and best of all; you have the guts to write what you really think in a personal way! What more can a magazine wish from their writers?
    Never mind the bollock! Hold the line

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  5. He's just an old school print journalist ranting because his profession is evaporating in a world where anybody can write what they want, when they want, and be heard. Your success is determined solely by what your readers think of your writing, not by Mr Brewer, his editors or their establishment. Don't fret this, my friend, Mr Brewer and his colleagues will go the way of the dinosaurs.

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  6. What a buffoon. I think we would all agree that you write very well and are a professional writer in every meaningful sense.

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  7. Thanks for support!

    Anyway, and sharing what's being discussed in the Spanish version.

    I don't moderate comments, like most bloggers (and the few who do is because they want to filter spam and trolls), so if I write any sort of bollocks anyone can call me down for it, or correct any mistakes I might make. We can't do that with the likes of Alan Brewer.

    And if he knows so much, and he's interested in spreading the knowledge as much as he claims, why doesn't he write a blog? Might it be that he's afraid of being unmasked for the superficial snob I bet he is?

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  8. I believe Mr. Brewer is full of envy. Your blog is great, and I believe you have much to offer the Spanish beer magazine.

    Keep up the good work!

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  9. I think the objection is that bloggers aren't held to the same standards as print journalists are. That is NOT to say some quality bloggers don't choose to adhere to those standards, but there are not any immediate consequences if they do not. Bloggers do not have to disclose if they're getting kickbacks, they don't have editors who would fire them if they were inserting bias. That's not to say some print journalists aren't crooked, either.
    Yeah, we're sad that our profession is being overrun. I don't think I'll mind as much when bloggers are required to adhere to the same ethics that, in theory, make journalism the institution that it is.

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  10. Good point, and one that is certainly part of the debate.

    But as you say, those ethics are "in theory" and many journalists are biased, the ones who write about beer aren't an exception.

    Bloggers will (and to a certain extent, should) never be subjected to the same standards because bloggers (the real ones, I mean, no the ones doing PR for a company) don't get paid for writing, and their readers aren't expected to pay to access the contents they publish. Of course, there are many who choose to voluntarily adhere to those standards, and those are the bloggers who, at least in the beer community, have the best reputations.

    Either way, that is not what Brewer meant at all. His objection is of a completely different nature: he's basically mad that people can do what he used to do decades ago, but easier and faster and with a much wider reach. In other words, he's mad because he's becoming irrelevant (even if in a way that is his own fault for not having a blog).

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