Yesterday morning Glenn Payne, a man who wears several beer coats, sent a quick question from his UK home to many beer types. He asked, “Who’s the soul, who’s the cutting edge of beer; who’s taking it to the street?”
He explained it will be the topic for his presentation at Mondial de la Bière in Montreal this summer.
Of course I’m interested any time somebody asks about the soul of beer, but I was as struck by the question about who’s taking it to the street. It reminded me of something Manuele Colonna said when we were in Rome. By the time I got around to digging out the notebook with that quote Payne had plenty of answers. Among those was one from Ray Daniels, another guy with many beer coats, and these days known as the Circerne dude. He started:
Everyone in the craft industry takes it to the street by living the life of craft beer. Sure there are stars that the punters all clamor to see. But their popularity isn’t based on a pretty face, a million dollar ad campaign or a name made in some other industry and transplanted to beer. The craft beer industry has been built by authentic entrepreneurs who daily breathe life and spirit into their companies and their brands. The accumulation of that personal passion in all its diversity makes this industry interesting and engaging. And it makes the beer distinctive.
You can read the rest here.
Sure enough, what Colonna said fits right in and is a reminder the US doesn’t have a monopoly when it comes to beer passion. When Colonna and two partners started Ma Che Siette Venuti a Fa, a bar which serves beer from small breweries from Italy to Denmark, in 2001 nobody in Rome sold craft beer.
Bar owners went with “name” beers pushed by distributors. “They weren’t interested in what the people in the streets wanted,” Colonna said. “Not the normal people.”
Payne’s request does suggest another question: Do cutting edge beers represent the real soul of beer? Not going near that one today.