Is Beer a Political Choice?

I had planned on only posting once today, since I have plenty of actual paying writing to attend to, but after reading Stan’s and Alan’s and Alan’s comment contributors’ opinions on last night’s Beer Wars movie premier, I was compelled to ask the above question. Because, really, from what I’ve seen of the reviews and commentary post-film, that’s what the whole exercise seems to be all about.

If you’re not involved in the brewing business, is your choice of a beer a flavour decision, as it “I want this beer rather than that beer,” or a political one, as in “I want this small brewery’s beer rather than that mega-brewery’s beer”? If you are of the former mindset, then you are, I believe, like most people in this world, the persuasive effects of beer advertising notwithstanding. If your pick is the latter, then you have chosen the large is bad/small is good ethos that I gather from the above-noted commentary is at the heart of Beer Wars.

If you’re like me, on the other hand, your choice likely lies somewhere between the two. I like beer, flavourful beer, and for the most part I don’t give Alan’s proverbial rat’s ass about where it comes from. I’ve had seven year old Séléction Lambic from then-Interbrew-now-Anheuser-Busch-InBev-owned Belle-Vue and thought it was wonderful. I’ve had many a small batch beer from a craft brewery or brewpub that I thought sucked. If I don’t think it’s good, I’m simply not going to drink it, no matter who brewed it. Period.

On the other hand, my political sensibilities do reside with the underdog, the David up against Goliath. Partly that’s because David usually has passion and dedication where Goliath has balance sheets, but another part, I admit, stems directly from my lefty leanings. (I should emphasize here that this relates only to my personal choice of beer, not my professional reviews. In the latter instance, I strive to the best of my human ability to treat everyone equally.) I believe that every consumer dollar spent in a capitalist environment is a vote, and I am extremely picky as to where I place my votes, whether at the ballot box or in the grocery store.

So what about y’all? Political or personal or a combination of the two? Or an I all wrong about Beer Wars?

4 Replies to “Is Beer a Political Choice?”

  1. It depends if you are comparing apples and apples. Ontario brewers for example lament the consumer who cross border shops but while they have some sold offerings within the styles they brew, they simply aren’t doing, or aren’t excelling at other styles. The same argument applies to buying locally made cars. Should I buy the locally made car that gets dramatically lower mileage?

    If something is of the same or better quality I try and choose the local option for both environmental and economic reasons, even if it costs a bit more. But until someone local is consistently producing a lambic, Rochefort 10 equivalent, double ipa etc., well I will explore more globally. Fortunately for me one of the best weissbeers out there IS made locally.

    1. And as I understand it, Jeremy, that weissbier might soon be in the bottle, too.

      (Said beer, for non-Ontarians, is the currently draught-only Denison’s Weiss, which brewer Michael Hancock told me he is trying to get bottled for this summer.)

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