If this is your first day on the internet, and this just happened to be the first website you have ever journeyed too, you might not know what a hater is. So let me take a moment to explain with the use of visual graphics to help you understand.
Craft beer geeks can be & generally are some of the nicest people you will ever meet, which is a HUGE reason I am so passionate about the craft beer industry. In the last year, I have met and drank beer with some of the coolest people on the planet. I have attended events where there are hundreds of complete strangers sharing beer, sharing stories, and making lasting friendships in the short course of a “morning beer festival session”. So with all these cool people, why the need to talk about “haters” .. cause they exist too, even among the super nice ( in real life ) people that you meet at craft beer events.
Let’s face it, the anonymity of your darkened second bedroom, lit only by the light of your computer screen, after having a few tasty craft beers might make you a little more willing to say and do things online that you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing in the real world. For example. I have seen hundreds of people who bash [ Beer Advocate ] on twitter, there are even “anti beer advocate” twitter accounts that are devoted to pointing out all the negative things about Beer Advocate’s website, their community and even the founders [ Jason ] and [ Todd Alström ]. We, unfortunately, even got into the fray one night during a discussion, turned slug fest, about the way BA uses their twitter account.
Another victim of this particular type of online bashing is the Beer Wars movie. Of course, if you watched our last episode, you saw that we sat with Anat Baron and talked about the movie, and touched on a few of the main concerns that people have expressed about the movie. If you haven’t seen our episode, check it out, and if you haven’t seen the movie, then FOR SURE get on that by going here : [ Beer Wars Website ]. What people are completely comfortable saying on twitter, or forums or wherever online .. they would not likely feel comfortable expressing to the face of the movie maker herself. Of course, this being the new digital age, even if Anat, or the Alström Bros don’t follow you online, they are likely to see exactly what you say about them. So even on that level, it is something to think about before you go drink your haterade and get all crazy online.
So, dear reader, I can imagine you thinking to yourself two things :
1. The Alström Bros and Anat Baron are adults, professional, and celebrities so they should have thicker skin and deal with it
2. I have the right to say whatever I want and express my opinion as I see fit.
You are completely correct on both thoughts. This post is not designed to kiss the Beer Advocate brothers, or Anat’s ass or coddle them or even try to convince you that you can’t speak your mind online. This post is an effort to remind you that we are all working towards the same goal. Advocating for craft beer and helping the masses understand that they have choice, and to exercise that choice.
Personally, I don’t have any love for the BA website, or the brothers themselves ( having never met either one in person ), but NO ONE can argue the immense contribution they have made to the craft beer world, or the community at large. I have tons of love for Anat, having met her and having seen what an incredible person she is, and I genuinely love the Beer Wars movie , despite it’s flaws. Regardless of how you feel about the movie, you have to admit that this documentary does amazing things for the craft beer world. It puts the real struggle in the marketplace out in the open and exposes the flaws in how distribution in the US is handled, and how that distribution model puts all the power & choice into the hands of 2 large corporate beer makers. If you think Rhonda is stupid, and her beer idea was lame .. fine.. but her story, and her struggle are both very similar to what the average small craft brewer goes through trying to get thier beer to market. If you think that Sam from Dogfish Head is too big to be considered a story to focus on for this movie about craft brewers .. then fine but aren’t you happy for his success? Don’t you wish all the really cool craft brewers out there could find the type of success that Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing Co, Avery Brewing Co, etc.. etc.. have begun to have in the last few years? Even if you may not like every beer they produce, doesn’t it make you happy to be able to go into a craft beer store, and CHOOSE not to buy that beer, but to buy a different beer that you do like ?
These type of choices exist for two reasons ..
1. There are amazing and truly talented craft brewers who are putting everything on the line to do what they love, and produce a high quality, artisanal product that they believe in.
2. We have supported those efforts by buying those beers, and telling our friends about how great they are.
If we as the community of “advocates” can’t understand the contribution of websites like [ Rate Beer ] & Beer Advocate, or pod casts like ours, [ Hop Cast ], [ Two Beer Queers ] and many others and especially movies like Beer Wars bring to our beloved craft beer world, then you haven’t been paying attention to the revolution.
So, what does that mean? Are we not allowed to dislike a beer, or dislike a website? Of course not. Choice is at the very heart of what we are trying to advocate for, so how can we remove the choice to like or dislike something. However, there is a difference between not liking something and going out of the way to hate on it. For instance. Are you blogger that wants to write a review about Beer Wars ? Did you find something you didn’t like in the movie ? Talk about that, but also focus as much or more time on what you did like about it, and how you felt it contributes to the craft beer movement. Also, hit up Anat on twitter .. you can find her at [ Beer Wars ]. She is extremely responsive, and will maybe help you understand the bits of the movie you didn’t get, or didn’t like.
Does Beer Advocates website, and forum community just completely piss you off ? Great .. be a force for change in the community, helping others to see that we are all trying to be advocates .. not snobs, lovers of craft beer .. not haters. These are the ways that we can truly advocate. Our community is getting large, and with a large group of people online, the trolls get activated. Ultimately you can not beat the trolls, but you can be louder, and more persuasive then they are.
With all the new craft beer drinkers coming into our online community every day, what impression do we want them to get ? That we are a bunch of beer snobs, or beer douche-bags that won’t accept them because they can’t explain the difference between a Barley Wine and an IPA .. or do we want them to see us as a group of buddies who love beer, and want to enjoy their journey through craft beer as much as we enjoyed our own ?
I, for one, choose the latter, and if you’re out there supporting the craft beer revolution, then I tip my glass to you, and say Cheers!
Stay Safe & Drink Beer.