Oh god, we’re back on this. Last month’s Session and a series of subsequent posts has raised yet again the spectre of beer price, exclusivity, scarcity, etc.
In short, the youthful cadre of beer hobbyists is once more feeling pangs of guilt and/or frustration and/or envy. And perhaps stupidly, here I go wading anew into the morass.
You’re quite right, Beer Nut, beer does not matter. Never has. Nor does wine, for that matter, or whisky or any of the countless other foods and drinks that some people make their hobby. Adequate water supplies matter. Social justice matters. Food and education matter. Beer? That’s just a blip, a fine way to expend some discretionary income, as you note.
(Perhaps I shouldn’t be writing this, since I earn a generous portion of my income advising others as to how best expend those discretionary amounts, but what the hell, it’s done now.)
Does this mean that no beer is worth lining up for? Perhaps not to you, Mr. Nut, or Alan, but for some hobbyists, the quest is part, sometimes a large part, of the thrill. Ever jumped in a car to drive long distances for some superfluous reason? If not, you’ve missed a stupidly fun experience.
That’s what Dark Lord Day and the like are for some people, harmless bits of fun. And if they help line the pockets of daring entrepreneurs who are crazy enough to start a small business on a whim and a prayer, and produce craft beers which, by all objective standards, should not find a substantial audience among the American public, well, so much the better.
Do I care about people “cultifying” certain beers? Hell, no! Admittedly, it gives me something to write about and thus helps out my own bottom line some – although not much; the mainstream press, who pay most of my wages, are little concerned about such things – but in the greater scheme of things it provides succour to a few and harms no one, save perhaps for the psychological scars inflicted upon the rabid cultists who miss out.
That’s scarcity. As for price, well, that is a many edged sword. Some high prices are certainly justified – Lost Abbey’s Angel’s Share Grand Cru, in addition to being the finest drop of liquid ever released by the brewery, came as the result of a ridiculous number of man hours and reams of expense and thus certainly deserved its elevated cost – while others are not, perhaps in my opinion and not yours or yours and not mine. It’s a judgement call, not a conspiracy to line the pockets of hard-working, barely-getting-by craft brewers.
Personally, I’d rather spend $25 for a bottle of craft ale, knowing that the bulk of the money is going to support the brewery, than $8 or whatever it is for a glass of mainstream foam at a Toronto Blue Jays game, knowing that money is supporting nothing more than corporate greed.