I’ve been out of the loop, ain’t I, and I’m trying to catch up. The first day back at work today and I’m distracted by BrewDog vs CAMRA and beer for girls. My thoughts on these can be summed up as: AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!
I wanted to see BrewDog at GBBF because I wanted to drink their beers there because they make some of the best beers in Britain and GBBF should be about the best beers in Britain. Whether it was going to be cask or keg was irrelevant to me and would’ve been irrelevant to all but a small, albeit vocal, group – it was about drinking the beers because I like them. BrewDog will not be at GBBF now. BrewDog say CAMRA cancelled their bar but it seems that it was ‘cancelled’ because BrewDog didn’t pay for the bar, but whatever… To me it smacks of publicity grabbing from BrewDog more than anything else. CAMRA seem to have told BrewDog what to do to be involved and BrewDog haven’t done that, even if CAMRA did make some changes to what was initially discussed – if BrewDog really wanted to be involved they would’ve made it happen.
It’s frustrating to see this happen. I thought, perhaps naively, that BrewDog would be more interested in getting their beer in front of 60,000 drinkers than getting 60,000 hits on their blog. Are they being treated unfairly by CAMRA or are they trying to make problems?
What we should do, I think, is immediately forget everything and simply just look forward to the best week of British beer and drinking of the year. GBBF is a brilliant event and I always look forward to it and always enjoy it. BrewDog won’t be the only good brewery not there and there will be hundreds of great beers there to be drunk and that’s what’s important, right?
And then, unrelated, beer for girls.
Really? I do prefer boy’s beer, but I can have an open mind...
MolsonCoors have announced some new beers called Animee. They are made with malt, water, hops and yeast but that’s probably as close to ‘beer’ as it gets. Just look at them. They look like fancy flavoured water which wants to be more exclusive than it is (the packaging and the pale colour of it). They have fruit flavouring added to them (they come in standard, rose and citrus) and they are even low in calories. Calories!
Women don’t like beer because it looks like beer, smells like beer, tastes like beer and it’s fizzy and bloats you and it makes you fat. We all know this, right?! These new beers from MolsonCoors, a seven-figure commitment, answer with the developed negative of the stereotype of why women don’t drink beer. It’s black and white. It's patronising and regressive. And it’s bullshit.
I don’t think we need gendered drinks and I don’t think Animee will be a success (there have been two pieces on the Guardian about girly beer and Glyn has blogged about it, too - they seem to agree with me). The problem is a cultural thing specific to Britain; go to Europe or America and things are different. In fact, go to the top beer bars in the UK and things are different – women do drink beer, you see. Perhaps not as many as we'd like, but will Animee be the answer?
If these beers are still being made and they are selling well this time next year then I will buy ten case of each of the three flavours and throw a massive party for a load of women at my own expense. I’ll even provide rice crackers as snacks and buy copies of heat magazine for us all to read.
If it does get more women drinking beer, if it’s these beers which they are drinking, then I still think that it’s a backward step because they couldn’t be much further away from being like virtually every other beer on the market, so what’s the benefit of that overall?
I guess the trouble is that you can’t spend a few million quid on educating millions of drinkers; it’s almost impossible and it’s intangible. But it’s easy, with deep pockets, to develop tangible products like Animee. But it’s not the products themselves which we need because we already have them. We have thousands of delicious beers in the UK and there are many thousand more of them around the world. And there are millions of females who drink alcohol. Only education and a cultural mind-shift will likely bring the two together. These beers, I fear, will only push more people away and cheapen the appeal of good beer for a huge portion of the potential market.
What are your thoughts on either of these?
I double-teamed these two issues because I’ve written 498 posts and this will become 499. I want something a little lovelier than a derisory post about girly beer to bring up my 500th post.