What’s on deck?

I recently sold a story to The Guide magazine, which was about the first “Out and Proud LGBT Brewery,” the Hillcrest Brewing Co. in the Hillcrest neighborhood in San Diego, CA.  When it is officially published (I’ve sent in the copy), I’ll post it here and comment further.  Regardless, I’m proud of this piece and to whom I sold it because I do believe that the craft beer community is a community that thrives on experimentation, creativity, and artfully-crafted products.  Moreover, I also think there’s a crossover appeal.  Which brings me to my next article, which I’m currently shopping around.

Like most Americans (statistically), I spend at least three hours – usually more – of my Sunday afternoons watching football.  We’re inundated with commercials for what I’ll call “crap beer.”  I can’t imagine anyone getting offended with that statement because it’s like eating a hamburger at a fast food chain: no one is going to claim it’s of any real quality.  That being said, I’m fascinated with craft beer’s growing involvement in sports.  Many stadiums now house taplines solely for local craft beer, from Sam Adams in Boston to Bell’s in Michigan.

I’m finding this fascinating for two reasons: (1) I find the beer crowds, of which I am a part in my role as a blogger on Review Brews, to be different than sports crowds.  More artsy than sports.  And (2) Beer and it’s consumers dominate the market in sports.  I have numerous examples of this.  We rarely head into a football game drinking White Zinfandel.  However, the athletes themselves don’t appear in any advertisements.

And I’ve been wondering about these things.  Any ideas?

Detroit’s Ford Field has multiple craft beer options for football fans.

3 Replies to “What’s on deck?”

  1. an authentic craft brewer started to be independent–to distinguish himself from what was present. He saw something missing in the marketplace…but does he deep-down strive to replace the bad stuff on tap at sports arenas?
    By that logic you could say he’s just as “evil” as Miller/Coors……..but he’s not, because he’s using better ingredients, hopefully providing jobs in his local community, and changing the culture.

    It seems some craft brewers don’t give a crap about growth, they want to make a consistently good product (Hill Farmstead, Tired Hands, etc..).
    Other craft crewers want to grow faster and bigger than damn weeds (Stone, Sierra Nevada). Their beers are different, their goals as businesses are different.

    The real question is how can you increasingly distribute a quality, meticulously crafted product and maintain your principles and brand promise?

    Consumers are too smart these days and information is too accessible for breweries to fake it. New Belgium has made it work because they’rve always been authentically committed to a higher goal (other than selling beer). They’re stewards of their environment and people get that–craft beer drinkers more than others. They’ve figured out a way to continually communicate and achieve that throughout periods of growth as a company. Will you see their logo on Broncos stadium? Probably not for a while….It’s not their culture yet.

    I’m sure you do watch football, but a majority of America that watches drinks shit-beer. You’re a mindful consumer, most football fans aren’t. Craft beer drinkers are soccer fans, they play ultimate, they ride bikes and probably (gasp!) use public transportation.

    The balance of brand and growth is a tightrope as far as I can tell……a Patagonia complex, if you will. Yvon Chouinard and his philosophy could really help brewers and their business models.
    That and a book by Bo Burlingham called “Small Giants” http://www.smallgiantsbook.com/

    1. Don’t you think, Scott, that craft beer drinkers occupy a different mindset? I liked your quasi-analysis of the craft beer demographic. I think you’re right.

      My point is, I think, that mindfulness does come to mind when I think about people who drink craft beer and I think that mindfulness informs ther est of their (our?) decisions.

      However, as a football fan, I’d love to see more options at my stadiums. A mindful fan is an informed fan. In a league with such an identity crisis, having mindful, informed and educated fans might do the the league some good.

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