In the other day's post, Jeff, from Beervana suggested that I should run with the idea that "much of the marketing of the macro brands has a more realistic relationship with beer culture than that of the micro brands." Since I've got nothing better to do, here's me running:
Macro beer marketing has been critisised for being superficial, silly, flat, that it sells brands and not beer, etc. It is also said that it avoids speaking about beer because they sell shit and don't want people to start to think too much about it. False logic. The big brewing companies sell a mass market product and their marketing needs to speak to the widest possible range of consumers. The discourse, therefore, will not be often centered around ingredients, processes and sensory characteristics simply because it would be very much a waste of resources since most people don't give a fuck about where their beer comes from or how it is made.
I'm quite skint these days, which has resulted in a considerable reduction of my visits to pubs, not to mention Pivotéky, which in turn has resulted in my taking a more Buddhist approach to beer.
For example, I've been following what Pivnici have published about the beers they've drunk and the places they've been to and I don't suffer. I know my current financial situation would not allow for almost any of that and I have accepted that fact. I enjoy those beers that I can afford and those sparse times that I do stop for a pint at a pub, or that someone buys me one, perhaps even more, in some way, than usual.
It feels good! I might be getting close to Pivní Nirvana.
This short, but very much to the point entry at Reluctant Scooper reminded me of something that has been going around my head ever since the first and second rants about beer tastings, which back then even made me doubt if there was such thing as "Beer Culture".
Now I'm convinced that beer culture does exist, and that it is basically what described last year. But beer culture is not something self sufficient, it is part of a wider thing. It is also true that beer being a consumer's good, its culture, i.e. the relationship the consumers have with it, is to some extent shaped by marketing, i.e. the way beer producers would like the consumer to see, relate to, and consume their product. But beer marketing itself it's also often shaped by the local customs, habits and culture (now that I think about it, much of the marketing of the macro brands have a more realistic relationship with beer culture than that of the micro brands, but that is another thing).
The other day I came across an article (in SP) about a very interesting beer project called Cluster Cervecero. Basically, two brewers, Alex Padró, from Llúpols i Llevats, and Gabriel Fort, of the namesake brand, are working in the same building, each with their kit. They are joined by Steve Huxley, the head of Steve's Beer Academy, and also a brewer himself. Besides making each their own beers and give courses, these three people work in common projects. All very interesting and nice, until I read this: "Good beer almost went extinct in the middle of last century. The years of thirst.
What? I'd never heard about that one! Fortunately, Huxley is here to shed some light (well, sort of): "The 13 years of Prohibition in the US had, in the end, worldwide repercussions. After it finished in 1933, the big companies took over the market with beers of low quality, completely unfaithful to the original recipe, and that practice extended, unfortunately, to the other side of the …
My faimily and I took went on a more than deserved four day holiday last week. We went to Liberec, my wife had booked us a stay at Hotel Babylon, mostly so our daughter could enjoy some of the attractions that this huge complex has (I must confess that I had a kick-ass time at the water park, too!).
Before leaving I asked Facebook and Twitter to recommend place with good beer in Liberec. A couple of tips arrived, the places looked quite fine, but in the end I decided to give them a miss. I'm almost sure I would have had a very good time at those pubs, but at the same time, they didn't look like the kind of place where my wife and daughter would enjoy themselves very much, and this was a family holiday so I wanted to dedicate all my time to them. Pivní Filosof would have to stay home, watching porn or nature documentaries, or whatever it is that this bloke does when he's not getting pissed.
The floor malts from Benešov are an undeniably craft product. Tradition, dedication and attention to detail rule. Everything that happens during the process is allowed to happen for a reason, and the ultimate goal is quality. Quality that is backed by a lab analysis of each and every batch; figures and values that are very hard to argue with.
For better or worse, it's not that easy with beer. Yeah, a lab analysis might be able to determine that A is technically better than B, but since it is a consumer product we are talking about, the subjective quality will always prevail, and it doesn't often agree with the technical one.
In a certain way, this has an effect on the concept of "craft" and the endless debate around it. To me, "Craft Beer" is another label, not too d…