Well, That Escalated Quickly


So… uh… yeah. Thanks to everyone – and I literally mean everyone – for reading that crazy-ass rant about Sam Adams and hipsters. Usually when I start ranting and raving like that it’s while I’m being escorted out of a place by the neck, and most people pay me no mind. But apparently I hit home with a lot of folks. Next time I wrote something that goes viral, I’ll try to do it while not hopped-up on pre-workout. That shit’s for lifting weights not pounding keys.

Anyway, I felt that I should clear up a few things that may or may not have gotten lost or misconstrued or mis-communicated (by me) in that rant. I write this blog for fun, and mostly just for myself and what I thought was a very small group of people who would read it. In the case of yesterday’s post, I wrote it stream-of-consciousness, unedited, in fifteen or so minutes while on my way out the door. So consider this a mini-addendum, which #1 being the primary point:

  1. I am NOT a beer industry person. I would like to be some day, but I’d think most places would frown on hiring a raving lunatic. I have a handful of friends and acquaintances in the industry and they are very good to me (some even shared my rant), and knowing them has really improved my beer education. Though, if I came across as a know-it-all that wasn’t my intent. I certainly do not know it all. One of the things I don’t know, for example, is how wholesale/distribution pricing works in practice. That “$3” figure I threw out was hyperbole/out of my ass. It was an off-the-cuff “I’ve paid $4 for a pint of Sam and $7 for a pint of XYZ craft, so $3 seems reasonable” thought. I’ve been told it was way off. The actual dollar amounts, however, aren’t really what my point was. I was saying that to declare Sam Adams’ Boston Lager a “mediocre” product is disingenuous. I don’t believe any of the establishments mentioned need to sell it; I have no problem with any of them leaving Sam off their draft/bottle lists. My issue is to claim that they’re doing it for any reason other than “I can make more money by selling something else” should be treated with the same skepticism as you treat the “The End is Nigh” guy outside of Fenway. Craft beer bars know their clientele far better than some guy on the Internet, and they know what their customers will and will not buy. However, that doesn’t mean because they don’t serve something that thing is somehow “mediocre.” Just because it doesn’t sell well in a bar that caters to the “new and shiny” Millennial/hipster (more about which in a second) crowd, does not make it mediocre. This was my major point.
  2. I am also NOT defending Jim Koch’s behavior. If the events at Row 34 went down as Andy Crouch described – and I have no reason to believe otherwise – than that was a dick move by Koch, it was reprehensible, and he should offer an apology to the bar staff he berated and to Row 34’s owner. I still maintain the owner should’ve stepped in to defend his staff, but that’s neither here nor there.
  3. I’ve been told my tone was too aggressive. Fuck you. Oh okay, yeah sure, I was a little pissed off. I’m not paid to write this blog, and as you can tell by “.wordpress.com” in the URL, it isn’t monetized either. I mostly use it as my personal vent, and share it with my social media contacts because some folks enjoy reading it. I didn’t expect this much attention, and if I did I may have A. proof-read, and B. taken a more level-headed approach. Also, I’m a diet so I’m grumpy. But, meh, it’s still my personal blog and I didn’t make you read it.  If you want level-headed, fact-checked, and (mostly) typo-free there are plenty of other websites that can accommodate you. If you think these are all a bunch of excuses: screw.
  4. My post-script attack on Tony Magee. Probably not cool to attack the character of a guy I’ve never met, so if Tony read it and it hurt his feelings, I apologize. If someone else got butt-hurt about it, I don’t really care. Lagunitas makes some good beers (and some great ones), but from what I’ve read and heard from Magee I find him to be a hypocrite. If he’s interested in smoking the peace pipe and proving me wrong, I’m certainly game. Everyone else, I refer you to the part about me not caring.
  5. What is a hipster?/Aren’t you a hipster?/Am I a hipster because I do/don’t like XYZ?: go pound sand.
  6. Commenting — I have a comment filter on that’s designed to keep out spam; but it also holds any first-time comments for moderation. I’ve been blanket-approving them and responding to them as I can. I’m going to try to respond to as many of them as I can, but if you’re gonna pick a fight or be a dick I’m not going to bother with you. I’ll still approve your comment, because apparently I asked for all this attention and America and it’d be hypocritical of me to post some raving rant on the Internet and deny you a raving response. I think. I don’t know. Not even entirely sure I care…

If I pissed you off in some other way, you can feel free to leave a comment. It’ll probably say awaiting moderation (like I noted above), but I generally just approve anything that isn’t appallingly racist/sexist/homophobic/pro-New York.

In all sincerity, though: thank you all for reading. It’s been a little overwhelming, but mostly positive and I appreciate it.

Further Reading

This article from MarketWatch was sent to me today: “Why these craft beer pioneers hate snobs.” I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, as I’m a slow reader,  but it was pointed out to me by a number of folks, so I’m gonna go head and judge a book by its cover and assume it’s at least tangential to the topic at hand. MarketWatch is one of them sites that has editors and fact-checkers and shit.

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6 Comments

  1. Haters gonna hate. I enjoyed the rant and agree with your argument. For those that say that Sam Adams is mediocre, how many of the different styles havie you tried? If you go to their website, they have 75 different beers showing on their page that they brew. If you’ve tried all 75 and still think that, then so be it. But I think you would be lying to yourself. If I try 75 different beers and didn’t love a few and hate a few, then my taste buds have died.

    Thanks for the blog. I’ve got you bookmarked now. No pressure.

    Reply

  2. Wow, battle lines drawn…not. Vinny, why escalate? All of this is more or less unsettling and ugly. As a transplant from Newburyport to Carlsbad, CA, I love going into the industrial district in Vista, finding a new brewery just getting their first, second, or third brews going with tanks that are less than three months old. Home brewers who haven’t gone on to building their own business don’t have any idea how hard it is or the financial risks these folks take. Sure, Lagunitas and Port (of Pizza Port Fame) are now doing well, and in fact, doing overload work for some of the smaller places but the cool part is they’re selling the stuff in their own venues as well as facilitating more and more brands to get into the market.

    That, to me, is the most important part: Having lots to try. I’m very happy to live where I live – where I can drive fifteen minutes and get to try something that might or might not make it from cask to bottle. All of the rest of it is bullshit – even your rant. All brewers who have the guts to stick their wares out on the street have my respect. The cool part is that they’re all individuals – even people as bold a Greg Koch or Tony Magee. I don’t have to like them personally to drink their beers!

    BTW, I love beers like Hop Stoopid just as much as a Sam; however, you have to admit that the thing about it all is getting to try new stuff. You can pull out all sorts of notes from overly hopped beers just as much as a Scotch Ale. You just have to focus a bit more. Scorch? Sure. Want a kick-ass Scorch? Try Sculpin Habanero on tap… Who cares, it’s about the beer and personal taste. Nothing more.

    Reply

  3. I would like to propose that bars that don’t serve Sam Adams may actually not carry it because they don’t like it. It doesn’t have to only be a business decision and nor is it disingenuous if they say so. I remember a trip to a bottle shop in Portland (Oregon) and asked the owner about a beer I couldn’t find in his shop, a very popular west coast brew that most shops carry. His response? “I don’t carry it because I don’t like it”. I said, “Bravo!”

    Reply

    1. Hi Ted,
      Thanks for reading/commenting. I think you missed my point; I agree with what you’re saying 100%. No one should be forced to carry any kind of beer, and I’m not saying that if you don’t like a certain beer (in this case Boston Lager) that your taste is “wrong.” I’m saying that the indictment of Boston Lager’s quality (i.e. calling it “mediocre”) is a judgment on it’s objective quality (not of someone’s personal taste), and that’s what I found to be disingenuous. Thanks again!

      Reply

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