Brewdog, The Sun and Craft Beer Hypocrisy – Part 42

Let us get this out of the way first.  Being raised with family friends who were miners I was brought up (there are stickers in my mum’s loft still) to not have anything to do with the Murdoch press.  To that end I’ve remained true.  No money of mine has ever paid for The Sun, The Times, the former News of the World or any printed press.

Then again, I’ve have had Sky once, for a few months (though of course I also watch it in the pub, and being a fan of rugby league, his money is much needed) and I regularly watch films from 20th Century Fox.

Damn, boycotting is difficult when it means missing good stuff, just look at all the satellite dishes in Liverpool, but they don’t buy The Sun so that is definately #JFT96

And I am most definitely, unequivocally100% not a fan of Brewdog

But I have drank their beer and been to the bars.

In fact in London over this August bank holiday I was indeed in a Brewdog bar and I did visit a Craft Beer Co. establishment too.

I also happened to have paid for a drink that would equate to £18 a pint.

So it amused me that a quick read of the tiny microcosm that is beer twitter (still not 100% weaned off prodding that infected tooth) that both Brewdog and The Sun (and Craft Beer Co and the price of beer) were making the rounds of the self-important and self-anointed.

Link to the Sun (beware hypocrites)

I do wonder if any Equity Punks have cashed in, or if they really are under some illusion that they can inform better marketing from the business they bought into.

I mean that is the trend these days isn’t it, BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions?  Vote with your feet and your wallet.  Disagree with something, overtly offended by something, then they don’t get your cash. Simple.  Just ignore it. It will go away.

It must be hard when you’ve created the monster yourself and then it starts to devour its own.  It is a small facet of the current behemoth that is liberal thinking in this day and age.  Intersectionalism all round.

Those same people who scream that satire (not that they actually understand the concept) should only punch up and not down; but when it comes to the Sun and especially their readers, they are fair game, the stupid, racist Brexit voting, easily duped sheep.

Oh and Wetherspoons drinkers are scum too

Everyone is a target, just don’t think you’re any better than anyone else just because of what you drink, where you drink and what you can afford.

That is called snobbery and it isn’t, ever, a good look.

 

Long live the schism.

 

Thanks for reading.

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Craft Beer Gets Its 10 Commandments

The Everyone Welcome Initiative

This is one of those pieces where you have an internal debate about whether you wish to write about something or not because this only exists inside a very small world, for now at least and this one world is the beer bubble

But I suppose forewarned is forearmed and as I would never miss the opportunity to castigate threats to free speech and free thought I may as well have at it.

First read on the Manchester Beer Week website about being the launch of a “diversity manifesto” I wondered what the audience would be like…

So diverse…

It’s almost like they had to bus in white people from that there London, Liverpool and Sheffield just to bump up the attendance.

Anyway, that is an easy shot, that it took place at Fairfield Social Club, a place where hipster racism exists in God’s own image should have been a clue.

“But what is wrong with the 10 Commandments?” I hear you cry, “you’ve mentioned it in the title, get on with your point. I can’t see anything wrong with rules which are basic common sense and good human behaviour.”

No.  This is true.  Taking Commandments 6 to 10 most seem logical.  Given this is the bible; it is amazing that people leading up to its writing and publication weren’t just murdering and robbing each other because they had no set of rules (holy or otherwise) to follow.  That there were enough people around to write this stuff it’s fair to say that a great many people have a certain innate morality.  Perhaps we should credit that to our supposed creator(s) too but what is life without actually written rules and therefore surely there is nothing wrong with this manifesto?

Rules are about control.

The infantalise those that feel compelled to follow them and therefore the followers feel compelled to compel others.

My main wondering is how far this goes.  No compulsion, but are we then suppose to think that all venues not displaying this list are horrible, evil, squalid places?

Any place that doesn’t have these rules won’t have them because, they will think they are bollocks, they don’t care and they are quite open enough as it is but mainly because those that wrote them and the acolytes that adhere to them, won’t and would never have gone in those places in the first place.

Woke CAMRA of Bolton were quick to get in on the act…

Makes you wonder if this CAMRA branch will actively boycott pubs and bars that don’t display these rules, other than the 10 pubs of their area they actually bother about.

Long live the beer schism.

 

Much like the 10 Commandments, the first 5 about an all-powerful yet strangely paranoid and vindictive God.  That this initiative sets it stall out, before its rules, by actually talking about it NOT being snowflakey, PC-gone-mad and virtue signalling all seems quite self-evident about the actual intentions.  Me thinks the authors doth protest too much.

More than anything, this sets up businesses and their employees as those beholden with the keys to kingdom.  An army of poorly trained and at the very least completely oblivious workers who now have to police what people say and how they act.  It is a sham and an absolute nonsense.

It creates borders and boundaries, it creates individual groups and sets them off against each other in some faux war that apparently needs to be won in the name of bringing people together.

In the Koran (like all religious texts, rip offs of each other), it state that there is “no compulsion in religion” – which is cool, until the ultra-orthodox play the convert or die card.  Just like gay-conversion therapy and other shit, zealots of every stripe are the ones to be wary of.

Then again I would say all this; I’m an alt-righter, a privileged man, with white skin, scared that his controlling patriarchy is collapsing.

Meh, we can all play the victim card if we choose, some are better at it than others and the really good ones can make money from it.

It plays into a bigger part of the so-called “culture wars” (wars, again, everything is about fighting).  Growing up life used to simply be about; believe what you want, just don’t let it interfere with anyone else’s life.

It seems that those that preach secularisation of religion seemingly need to replace one belief system with another, their lives unable to function without rules and an orthodoxy to follow.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Beyond the Bubble: Can beer make a difference?

Manchester Beer Week Event

 

“Beer has been a remarkable success story in recent years.”

It depends how you define success. Pubs closing rapidly, less people drinking out and at home.  Not the best business model to achieve longevity in.

 

“The number of breweries in Greater Manchester has grown by more than 200% since 2010 and more continue to open their doors each year.”

Ah, we are defining it like that.  I admitted last year I was surprised that none of the breweries in Manchester centre had combusted yet (the ones that actually got going in the first place that is) – but I’m thinking by the end of 2018 we’ll see the first one but that will be because of personality issues leading to bad business decisions rather than it being a crowded market place.

Still the way we are drinking is changing, hence the rise and rise of the brewery tap, I am still surprised it manages to sustain so many feeding off the same teat.

 

“A big part of this success is the perceived ethos of craft brewing. These small-scale, independent producers are often viewed as a backlash against the status quo, and attached to values such as social awareness and inclusion.”

Bubble Alert – Perceived indeed it is.  Leaving aside what makes a good status quo and a what makes a bad status quo but its something akin to when democracy gives the “wrong” answer.

I am aware of awareness.

But when it comes to craft brewing and inclusion I just think of this…

 

“This discussion will look at whether craft brewers doing enough to justify this perception and ask if more can be done to engage with the wider community and have a lasting, positive impact on society.”

The ones doing enough to justify this perception are the ones that want to sell it and use it as an additional marketing gimmick.  Most of the other brewers just get on with their chosen jobs, because that is all it is.  A job.

“The panel will include Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, who has worked to involve the region’s businesses in his campaign to tackle homelessness, and Jenn Merrick, the former Beavertown head brewer and founder of Earth Station, a new community brewery being developed in East London.”

Nothing to difficult for Andy, got to keep it simple, play to the converted.  Maybe you’ll visit the North Stand at the LSV soon.  All the best.

 

Another fabulous chin-stroking, glad-handing, bubble-inflating “discussion.”

 

Thanks for reading.

Hipster Racism! This Explains Craft Beer Racism

Wandering through the internet last week I was pointed to an article about “how to know if you are a hipster racist”

I didn’t give it a read at the time but came back to it today and reading it made me realise how this totally connected to the piece in Thrillist that pointed out that there are few black people in craft beer, that got a hell of a lot of beer people in a tizz back in 2015.

Couple this with a further story from 2015 about how barbecue food is racist and it now all becomes clear.

When you go to any craft beer bar, food hall, or street food gathering you seldom see any faces that are any colour other than white.

Its full of young hipsters, old hipsters, hipster parents; all strongly in the IC1 category, loving the diversity of their food but not of their company.

Sure, there might be some BAMEies cooking and serving the food but luckily they wear gloves because who wants to eat something that has come into contact with non-Caucasian hands, which they probably haven’t washed anyway.

No, so long as the Chinks, the Wogs and the Negros know that their place is hemmed in behind a counter, shackled to a hot grill and waiting on their fair-skinned masters then every one can enjoy some jolly good grub.

In fact, better yet, just get some whites to set up their own food stalls and culturally appropriate the food of the lower castes and then we never need to feel even slight pangs of guilty as we tuck into to our food in our monochromatic atmosphere.

 

This is of course all complete bollocks.

There is something rotten at the core of this craft movement but it isn’t racism.

This is a nod to the collectivists, the neo-segregationists, the social justice warriors and the painfully illiberal liberals.

These fuckers will eventually eat themselves.

And probably set up a street food stall and charge £10 a plate for the experience.

 

Thanks for reading.

When Underdogs become Overlords…

The piece below is the opening of what I’m lovingly calling the “Shitting on my Doorstep” trilogy.

 

Following the announcement by CAMRA of their revitalisation project much debate has opened up about what the campaign is for and where it is headed.

I find this situation to be quite comparable to the craft beer movement and, more presciently, those who have or are trying to define what it actually is.

On the face of it both had similar, if perhaps romanticised origins.  Group of people gets together, bemoan how corporatism is spoiling something they like and resolving to do something about it.

Of course their future’s have panned out a bit differently but they nonetheless each wield a fair amount of power, either by lobbying or by being an actual business movement.

In the case of CAMRA, it is now reaping what it sowed when it came out with its rather rigid definitions and core aims.

Seemingly shunned by the “craft” generation; in fact used a marketing tool to push against their old, establishment ways and make way for the new, brave, young beery scene, it is also lambasted by its core base for trying to move too far from its original principles but also by doing this, steps on the toes of others with similar aims. (Blogs & views about this collected here, by Boak & Bailey).

On the other hand you have craft breweries; which some who drink, or worse still worship and sploodge all over themselves about, forget that they are all businesses.  Businesses that are in direct competition with those of a similar vein fighting over the very, very small dregs of an ever decreasing pint.  Businesses whose aim is surely to grow as big and successful as possible?

There are those that buy into breweries in good faith, as a friend would, lending another money to get a venture off the ground.  There are small business loans taken out left, right and centre to fund.  There is crowd-funding and of course there are “share” sales, which can lead to attending AGM’s which always remind me of scenes John Carpenter’s They Live.

Support can also come from merely regularly drinking their beers and raving about them on social media, or merely just drinking their beers.  In essence the better beers and by rationale the better breweries should always succeed.  But in recent times we have seen new breweries sprouting up with big cash outlays and, more importantly a marketing budget.

Conversely and perfectly acceptable in all other forms of business, there have been numerous buy-outs of well know microbreweries by international brands.  Of course the main and valid worry with these kinds of buy-outs is that the product invariably changes and whereas it may be available more widely it is the quality of the product that suffers.

There is also an aspect of this movement that would rather brand a buy-out as a sell-out.  What this highlights is that, duh, some people are jumping on the beer bandwagon to make quick money (though there are far quicker ways to do this) and that those that have the initial investment to succeed are more likely to thrive that those that have to build up more slowly and the worry is that if this is just a trend then the bubble will burst and a lot of microbreweries, no matter how good their beers are, will go to the wall.

People have idealised what craft beer and real ale are.  You can only call your product craft, real, artisan, boutique, etc for so long before the bigger guys with the bigger marketing budgets utilise and exploit it.

You have two movements, both born of grass-roots and local principles, that have spread nationally and even internationally and both of which have seemingly convinced their members that they are something they are not and are about as far removed from the “little guy” that they portray themselves as you can get, though a case for this being more accidental rather than design can be made.

Of course all of this just over complicates what beer actually is and instead turns drinking it into some kind of morality play.  In the end we are all still underdogs and what we should really rally against is anything that is trying to change our enjoyment of a very short life but dictating what you drink, what you eat, what you say, and it is ultimately these moralists, these overlords, that should be opposed.

 

Hmmm, this piece got away from me and I don’t know where…

Thanks for reading.

 

#CraftBeerSoElitist

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.

classes

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.