Blue Point Brewing is on one lately. This month, they announced distribution of their first ‘Hazy Bastard’ IPA in 16 oz cans; they’re canning other beers with wacky ingredients like seaweed and beach plum; they hosted an experiential marketing gig, bringing Blue Point beer and beach vibes to the Lower East Side (complete with boardwalk, relaxation pod and “underwater” bar—see photos here); and they’ll soon be opening a new production facility and brewpub in their hometown of Patchogue, Long Island.
Perhaps the most impressive of their latest endeavors, though, at least to the small group of beer nerds who got to taste it, is 1902, a “pre-prohibition lager” brewed in collaboration with Popular Mechanicsmagazine.
Meg Gill critiques a brew in Beerland Season 2. / Photo credit: Viceland
I recently had the chance to, once again, interview Meg Gill, co-founder and president of Golden Road Brewing and star of Beerland, a television show on Viceland that follows Gill’s travels across the country as she meets some of the nation’s most interesting, unusual and fervid homebrewers.
After a successful debut last spring, Beerland has been renewed for a second season, and its five episodes tackle a cornucopia of themes just in time for fun family discussions during the holidays: among them, race, immigration, poverty, disability, illness, and the call to utilize one’s talents and capabilities to better the larger community. Continue reading →
Last week, the Brewers Association launched Take Craft Back, a “tongue-in-cheek” campaign crowdsourcing imaginary funds in the amount of $213 billion from craft brewers and consumers. The goal? To foot the bill for a weighty purchase: buying out Anheuser-Busch InBev, or ABI, the world’s largest brewing behemoth.
Why? Because ABI has systematically purchased a total of 10 formerly independent craft breweries in the past several years, which allegedly bumps “real” craft brewers off the shelves, out of hop fields and clear out of the minds of beer consumers who aren’t educated enough to make the right choice when faced with corporate versus independent brands at the bar or in the supermarket.
Did the campaign have good intentions? Yes. Absolutely. The BA works their asses off standing up for small and independent brewers around the country, and I respect them for it. In fact, I often cover their successes in beer politics, share and review their Brewers Publications book releases, and reach out to their leaders when I think a story could use their expertise. Take Craft Back is one of the many ways they are both showing and garnering support for the small beer community and I commend that.
But, there was some backlash. Although many of the brewers we love shared the news and contributed to the campaign—and, apparently, upwards of 8,000 people have “donated” (no real money was exchanged, but pledgers are sent some swag for their support)—other industry members were not so tickled. I’ll be the first to admit I laughed at the video, but I too was confused about what I was looking at.
Criticisms of the Campaign
Beer writers in my extended network reacted the most negatively out of anyone, really, and not necessarily to a fault. While the campaign, at best, is obviously a lighthearted attempt to get more eyes on the BA’s goals and convince more people to take the side of the small and independent brewers who work so hard to bring us great beer, the campaign is also bewildering, divisive, and quite frankly, petty. At it’s worst, it’s being criticized as childish, embarrassing, and a misguided use of resources.
I, as always, can appreciate both sides. However, I do agree that there are more effective (and certainly, more distinguished) ways to educate the public about the differences between independently brewed and macro-brewed beer. Although ABI hasn’t issued an official response yet, I imagine they’re laughing their way to the bank, and that the bank is the only institution that will ever touch those $213 billion.