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Monday beer briefing: How much should you ask of beer?


Why does craft beer think it can save the earth?
Thanks to Will Hawkes for helping me think about a question that popped to mind read last week. He writes, “A sense of purpose is part of what defines ‘craft beer’: it’s a campaign as much as a drink.” And he concludes (spoiler alert), “Why does craft beer think it can save the earth? Because that’s the entire point of craft beer.”

Those are pretty high expectations. The question that came to mind last week is, Why do we have these expectations for this thing people call craft beer? And why should they be different for breweries than for bakeries or bookstores or car repair garages? Not the first time I’ve wondered, and I still don’t have an answer. The question was provoked by Bryan Roth’s long examination of workplace harassment in breweries. Once again, jumping to the conclusion.

Given the systemic issues that surround inappropriate and unacceptable behavior in the service industry, it may not be about wiping out these problems altogether, but the unfortunate reality of chipping away, constantly and consistently. Implicit bias — the way our point of view is unconsciously impacted by our world around us — can make it difficult to recognize and change behavior.

With that for context, four links to the words we use, because (gets out drum, begins to beat) this is a discussion about beer within our culture, not “beer culture”:

Hop Take: We Need to Talk About Beer Diversity Differently
Craft Beer Looks Beyond ‘Young White Dudes With Beards’
Tony Dungy: Some announcers’ biased language perpetuates black QB stereotypes
Why Republicans took so long to call out Steve King’s racism


If this tweet from Bart Watson isn’t displaying in your browser, bottom line is that it points out that since 2008 beer prices are up 18.2%, versus 0.7% for wine and 3.7% for spirits. That’s a reason per capita beer sales of declined. And it’s not like winemakers and distillers don’t have concerns as well. A story in the Wall Street Journal about brewers and liquor companies seeking nonalcoholic alternatives explains, “Americans’ consumption of ethanol, or pure alcohol, has declined sharply over the past couple of decades. Alcohol consumption stood at 8.65 liters per person in 2017—the most recent year for which data is available—compared with 10.34 liters in 1980.”

Turning to wine, there was this (really only reason to read one, but I like the succession of headlines):
Silicon Valley Bank 2019 State of the Wine Industry: 7 Headwinds, 7 Tailwinds
‘Marked decline’ in US millennials drinking wine is ‘wake-up’ for the industry
Merciless millennials target wine as next victim

And back to beer:
Watney’s Red Barrel – how bad could it have been?
Good news, cask saved
After IPA, What’s Next for North American Craft Beer?



ReadBeer, every day.
Alan McLeod, most Thursdays.
Good Beer Hunting’s Read Look Drink, most Fridays.
Boak & Bailey, most Saturdays.

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