Keep The Spirit of American Craft Beer Week Going
The ‘Beer Week’ Phenomenon has been going steady for almost 5 years now, and I can’t think of a better way to promote, educate and enjoy craft beer than a string of fun events, happy hours, festivals and gatherings. While American Craft Beer Week is coming to a close, there is no reason to stop promoting American Craft Beer.
This is the first year where I saw mentions of American Craft Beer Week on the local news here in Los Angeles, and my assumption is that craft beer is on the cusp of main stream popularity, which will open many non-craft beer drinkers eyes and hopefully mouths. There will also naturally be folks who are catching wind of the craft beer movement, and crack a Coors Light and let out a hearty laugh when thinking of the notion of buying a six pack “of the microbrew” for $12.00. So I challenge you to keep the spirit of American Craft Beer Week alive all year long by converting someone to the good stuff.
Here’s some artillery for your crusade:
1. Swap out their macro beer with a craft substitute. It’s absurd to think someone who has spent a good portion of their life drinking beer with zero flavor would enjoy a bitter IPA out of the gate. Find your friend or family member a “substitute” for their Shock Top, Blue Moon,Guinness or MGD. Don’t get all political, but mention that you’re helping the small local guy, and you’re betting the local stuff tastes better (it does). I know I’ve saved the day for my dad by ordering him a Kolsch or Cream Ale, knowing that’s his kind of beer.
2. Explain the freshness aspect. If you had a good local bakery in your town, would you want to buy a loaf of bread from 3 states away? You shouldn’t, because nothing is like a fresh loaf of bread. Same rule of thumb goes for beer. You are getting a fresher product if you can get it closer to the source, and most likely will be the best representation of the beer. Ask him or her what they think of Heineken. More than likely the word skunk or skunky will be mentioned. Tell them it’s probably not skunky at the brewery in The Netherlands.
3. Debunk myths. “Oh that Guiness is sooo strong, it’s a meal in a glass don’tcha know!” “I don’t drink the dark beers, they’re too bitter.” Without coming off like a know-it-all or an expert, causally mention that Guiness is not a strong beer, and that the color of the beer isn’t an indicator of strength. Our local brewery in Los Angeles, Eagle Rock Brewery makes a Black Mild clocking in at 3.9%. You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at it.
4. Explain the value. A diehard macro drinker enjoys cheaper prices at a higher quantity. “Why would I want a six pack for $12, when I can get an 18 pack for $15?” I’ve told folks who were shocked of the price of craft beer that from a recreational point of view, you will have more flavor and more bang for your buck. Additionally they won’t have to work so hard at achieving whatever you were after this Friday night. I’m not here to promote getting drunk, but let’s not pretend there isn’t alcohol involved.
5. Question their savvy. While us geeks know Shock Top and Blue Moon aren’t craft beer, there are plenty of products on the market disguised as such. If you should have a friend or family member who cares about the products they buy, you might want to let them know they are buying their “micro brews” from AB and Coors.
6. Gift some beer. Study your friend or family member’s palate. Pick out a couple singles at the bottle shop you think they won’t find offensive. Make sure to tell them pour it into a glass. Follow up with them a day later, asking them what they did or didn’t like about the beer. You’ll have a better idea what to pick up the next time, and it will be fun trying to find a good match.
At the end of the day, all I really want is for someone to enjoy beer. No need to alienate or judge, but rather share, enlighten and educate. When I saw the look on my PBR drinking dad’s after his first sip of Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, I knew that with the right beer, you can convert anyone to craft beer.