Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Inconvenient Truths



It is always instructive when a spat occurs in blogs, in which diametrically opposite views are aired. We have seen it over craft, over CAMRA, over sparklers (I must do another post on them soon - I need the ratings) and many other diverse subjects. Most of these sort of stick to the point and there is very little by way of personal insult, though, not always, as there are passionate points of view being aired  - sometimes by thin skinned and intemperate people. But on the whole it is all done in the best possible taste, though you'd have to be a pretty dumb cluck not to realise that under all the bonhomie, there is a lot that divides us in the so called "unifying world of of beer."

So back to the spat. No avoiding of personal insults here. This starts out as a blogged rebuttal by Melissa Cole about something unkind that our old friends BrewDog said about British Brewing being "closed and unfriendly". This seems to have annoyed Melissa more than a bit and she goes on to rebut this point of view in strong terms. Now you might think she'd just sigh and ignore it wouldn't you? But I bet she feels about her friends in the brewing industry, the way I feel about mine in CAMRA. When you see your friends attacked in a way you see as unfair,  you want to jump in on their side . I empathise with her in that respect, though recognising, like in CAMRA, everything in the British Beer Industry is far from perfect.  That does need to be said, though it would be far better perhaps, if it was said by others and not our bumptious friends from the North.

Like every good pub brawl, others start jumping in. It's worth a read, so I won't go too far in spoiling your fun, but it does seem to this writer at least, that far from being the confident know-alls that they portray, BrewDog are, underneath it all just a teeny bit insecure. They secretly want to be part of it all, but having burned their boats, they can't be, so just go around burning other peoples boats too. You see, to get help and to be liked, you have to be nice to other people - at least some of the time. I doubt that the lack of respect that they have shown to most British Beer makers, with the exception of a chosen few, has exactly endeared them, but they can hardly complain that having alienated everyone, that nobody likes them can they?

The British Brewing Industry is a broad church. It covers a lot of ground and the so-called "the liquid cardboard" produced by most, is the drink favoured by the majority of their customers, otherwise they wouldn't buy it surely?  It is also somewhat of an inconvenient truth.  Nonetheless, I too believe that there needs to be change. When talking about how  CAMRA should face the future with one National Executive member, I was struck by the observation that "CAMRA needs to be bolder. It needs to take a few risks."  I agree with that wholeheartedly.  The thing about all this is that there is more than a grain of truth behind the BrewDog assertion about the staidness of British brewing and yes, CAMRA has played a part in this. On the other hand, from my knowledge of brewers, there is little accuracy in comments about their "niceness."  They are unfailingly nice when you meet them. On that subject, BrewDog's own fallibility is pretty well proven too, but on the plus side, they do have a go at the different, even if they are wrong headed at times in not only what they do, but the way they go about it.

BrewDog talk about being "exciting and cool"  - though bumming about Ratebeer is neither.  They also overlook that there is a fine line between being cool and being naff.  Now I'm all for the "excitement "bit and  "cool"  is a part of their image and as mostly generationally inspired,  can be overlooked, but one thing is true.  As well as the "liquid cardboard", boldness and some more risk taking from a lot of British Brewing would not go amiss.

Does brewing fortune favour the bold? Is this another inconvenient truth?


Does anyone not think that as BrewDog gets bigger, they will fall into the same conventional trap as all bigger companies and compromise? Does anyone not think the gruesome twosome will not cash in sometime in the future?

24 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

Is the spelling mistake in the image deliberate?

Bailey said...

Very interesting post. We said a while back that we thought Brewdog's aggro stance was a result of insecurity and that whole comment thread reads like something we'd expect to see between 14 year olds. (Also amused that Molson Coors are satan; no mention of Tesco...)

SteveF said...

BrewDog talk about being "exciting and cool" - though bumming about Ratebeer is neither

Yeah, I thought that was hilarious. Our Ratebeer rating is better than yours! Very punk.

Bailey said...

And another thought: it's not *who* is criticising CAMRA that's the problem, it's the high-pitched hysteria of the criticism that makes it easy to ignore as "trolling". If Brewdog could say what they need to say more quietly, people might be more inclined to listen.

Alan said...

Why is it incumbent on someone who is called an outrageous liar to temper their response? 2+ to "14 year olds" as long as the original post is included.

Tandleman said...

Mudgie. Ha. No it is down to my incompetence!

Tandleman said...

Bloody Hell. Changing the images was hard and I still cant get them the way round I wanted!

Bailey said...

Alan -- for their own good: it would mean they could win the argument! (Thanks for the opportunity to explain what we meant there, Melissa. Sadly, we were speaking from experience....) No comeback to that. Plenty of comeback to the 82 random shots they fired in various directions, however.

Tandleman said...

Alan - I am far to dumb to follow your circumlocutions. Who is the outrageous liar then?

Alan said...

No, I was too vague. This is in the original post:

"I think we're all familiar with their shock tactic methods by now, but it's one thing to thumb your nose at authority and it's another to tell outright lies. The comment, photographed right, is simply outrageous, the UK brewing industry closed? Yeah, ok lads..."

I don't see how that can be interpreted not to be calling someone an outrageous liar.

Alan said...

Oh, I see. The post has been edited to make it less un-nice.

Tandleman said...

Alan - I see. ;-)

Alan said...

Best note that alteration in the post itself, eh? Makes the party taking offence seem much chippier than they might.

Alan said...

Sorry (and sorry to go on) but I am reading the post again now and the text is there. I am working on two nights bad sleep so I am to blame. But, for me, the text I posted at 14:02 above is what is at the heart of this as much as BrewDog's response.

Brewbie said...

It's all very interesting and pretty contradictory in places. As a new person to the brewing world I've found everyone I've met so far to be friendly, inclusive and welcoming. Something to be celebrated I think.

Cooking Lager said...

Tell you whats cool, necking what you like, not worrying about what others like and wearing bang tidy trainers.

Phil said...

Does anyone not think the gruesome twosome will not cash in sometime in the future?

I'm sure that lots of people don't think they won't cash in...

Rabidbarfly said...

Cookie's back then, 'bout time n'all.

Am trying really hard to stay silent on this one because I've done enough Brewdog swatting recently. However...

RedNev said...

Cooking Lager's made the best point so far: just go out and drink the stuff.

Stuart Ross said...

cookie, right as usual

Kristy said...

Welcome back Cookie - a voice of reason, who would've thunk!

Rob Nicholson said...

>"CAMRA needs to be bolder. It needs to take a few risks."

Too right but I'm afraid the general demographic of the person who has time to work for the NE or central CAMRA committees does not fit in the "taking risks" camp. Catch-22 I suspect.

Mike, Bar Signs said...

I think it is a shame that anyone writing in beer blogs should be slamming one or another. It gives beer a bad name.

Barm said...

I think it's a shame that people who have bar sign businesses leave spurious, anodyne comments on blogs to get links to their websites. It gives them a bad name.