Alternative title: White Man’s Beerden
A few weeks ago this article in “Thrillist” was doing the rounds on twitter and whereas it is written from an American perspective it certainly got hands wringing over in the UK beer blogsphere.
Given the current furore over the Oscars maybe we should also go with #CraftBeerSoWhite
I’m not going to write from the perspective of either America or of race (I can if it were my prerogative but that isn’t the point of the piece), I can write from the perspective of England and beer drinking.
The craft beer movement at this current moment in time, is a micro-environment of the general middle-class chattering classes that dominate the air waves these days, at least at a social level.
Leave your left/right political paradigm at the door and we know that the UK is shaped more by class (and also class denial) than by most other factors in life.
The three original classes of Upper, Middle and Working have been split into seven categories
But this is neither here nor there, a main driver is the notion of egalitarianism – but it is not an equality of people but of thought.
Everyone knows that people are different, you can dare to dream and obviously if you have a lot of cash you are afford a lot more opportunity regardless of any semblance of brains, skill or drive but most of the time you won’t succeed because of a great, many factors.
We also know that not all beer is equal but what is glaringly obvious is that those that witter on about wanting more diversity in beer and brewing have clearly kicked a whole social group to the kerb.
There is a social group that does not want to drink certain stuff, nor does it want to go into places that don’t serve what they want at prices they are willing to pay.
Of course in the previous sentence I’m talking about the craft beer snob, who has the same mindset as the chattering classes; they’ll happily want to see you out of the gutter but not, in their opinion, if your mind is in there. But if it is then thankfully you don’t have enough privilege to share the same drinking spaces as them.
Craft beer has an exclusivity about it, not only on price and where it is available but also in the minds of some that drink it, those same people conversely are the ones most likely to talk loudest about the need for inclusivity.
These same people who frequent over-priced IKEA bars will sometimes “slum it” in a pub and rave about the merits of its fixtures and fittings and maybe even the beer on sale but don’t even expect them to want to share it too long with the regulars.
The art of disassociated association (or associated disassociating) (or neither, I’m just making up oxymoronic phrases).
The same can be said for food too; where street food is sold at restaurant prices and as this has proved so successful that now you can indeed eat street food in a restaurant at even larger restaurant prices while disparaging those that go to chains, because your “dirty food” is acceptable because you mind is “clean”.
Some need to acknowledged is that before we start blubbing about diversity in beer; about more equal gender and racial representation, that like much the rest of the UK is heading socially; the drive for “equality” has shunned anything to do with merit and is merely viewed as tokenism.
And that is about as far from equality as you can get.