Saturday, Boak & Bailey wrote that self-published books are the future of beer writing, the premise being, “Books about beer seem to be evolving in ways we like quite a bit: getting more specific, exploring fresh territory, enjoying the freedom of new business models.”
They offer two new books — Pete Brown’s “Craft: An Argument” and Andreas Krenmair’s “Vienna Lager” — as examples. Both are excellent, and they are quite different, supporting Boak & Bailey’s thesis. Still, I pause anytime I see the words “future of [fill in the blank] writing,” although there are good reasons to be considering them. A few thoughts:
– Self publishing allows writers/authors to distribute words that would not otherwise be published. Presumably they will earn something in the process.
– Blogging allows writers to distribute words that would not otherwise be published. It is a hard way to earn money. On Thursday, Alan McLeod repeated his pitch for more beer blogging, more new voices. (Suggesting how complicated this might be, his weekly news wrapup included only one link to a personal beer blog, and that one has a corporate sponsor).
– New writers may stick to old territory, but somebody is going to find new ways to write about new subjects for new audiences.
– Consider the responses to a question Robin LeBanc asked on Twitter the week before last.
“Question for the beer writers out there inspired by a few conversations: with all that’s going on, how do you stay motivated or inspired to talk about beer?
“I would like to clarify that I mean not what your usual drive is, but where your drive comes from when the world is as it is, currently on fire with a lot of hate, pain, and issues that make beer seem supremely unimportant in comparison.”
Read the thread. Change, not change within the same thread.
– Beer and brewing will continue to change. What’s in the glass and everything related to how it is made always have.
“Historians love chapter breaks,” Robert Kaplan, an American foreign-policy expert and former member of the U.S. Defense Policy Board, told an Atlantic magazine reporter in May. “COVID-19 will come to be seen as a chapter break.”
It certainly has been for most of the 8,000-plus breweries in the United States. Kaplan spoke before 989 breweries (as of 11:00 a.m. GMT, July 13) signed up to brew a Black Is Beautiful Beer, part of “a collaborative effort to raise awareness for the injustices people of color face daily and raise funds for police brutality reform and legal defense for those who have been wronged.”
Let’s be honest, many breweries will consider that their contribution to change. Others will just be getting started.
Who will tell these stories and how will they do it?