Oct 16, 2012

Was I disrespectful??

OK, so I got a few responses from my previous post entitled "One Gloriously bad beer" in which I tried, and gave my opinion of Walgreen's own "Big Flats 1901" Premium Lager. I was not a fan of this beer at all, in fact, I think I referred to it as "hardly beer at all" or something of that nature. The responses I got were a little surprising. I won't post them here, but I will give you a quick run down and recap. They expressed their displeasure with me, stating they felt I was disrespectful towards the brewers of this, stating that this beer, no matter how bad, represents someones passion and hard work. OK, I just say it, I think that's bullshit, for a couple of reasons. Let me explain....

not exactly a "little" operation
First off, this beer isn't brewed in someones garage, by a couple of struggling brewers trying to make it in the beer world. This was contract brewed in upstate New York by Genesse Brewing Company, which is owned by North American Breweries (the largest Independently owned brewing company in the United States, according to their own website), which is, in turn owned by the private equity firm KPS Capital Partners with total assets worth about $2.6 billion. This company brews up some "fine" little brews like LaBatts, Dundee's Honey Brown, Pyramid, Magic Hat, and even Seagram's. Not exactly a 'mom and pop' operation. There is as much passion and love that went into Big Flats as went into Bud Light Platinum. This beer, in my opinion, was whipped up, and mass produced to give people a cheap, tasteless option in something they think is a craft beer. O yeah, and don't forget, it was done mostly to make a few companies a little richer. Now, I have no problem with anyone making money. However, don't confuse passion for making money, with passion for making a fine beer.

Secondly, so what if it is someones passion, doesn't mean it can't suck. If you walk into a little mom and pop cafe, and have a horrible meal, will you tell your friends it was good, just because someone worked hard at it? I wouldn't. I think honest feedback is FAR more valuable the lying to someone to avoid hurting their feelings. How is it any different then a musician putting out an awful album, or someone putting out an absolutely horrible film? People had no problem making fun of Rebecca Black for her horrific song "Friday", even if she thought she was passionate about her music, and despite the fact that she was only a 14 year old girl. I have no problem pointing out what I see are weaknesses or flat out fails in any product, despite how much someone loves it, or how much work they put into it. Now, I am not saying its OK to be rude, but being constructive and honest in your feedback is far more respectful then telling someone that is truly awful, they are wonderful, just because you lack any sort of testicular fortitude to tell the truth. That, is what is truly disrespectful in my opinion.

Not that I think the above is even applicable in this case, as I don't think this represents any ones attempt at sharing a quality beer with the masses, but rather a few peoples attempt at making a little scratch to paid their already hefty bank account. Again, nothing wrong with that, but nothing particularly noble about it either.

This reminds me of a date I went on with my then girl friend (now wife) to a cool little outdoor bar called Pier 54 in Tempe, AZ. We were excited to see "live music" that night, since we love to listen to music, especially live. Well, the performer that night was "Dan the Music Man", and let me just say, he was fairly awful, he didn't have a very good voice, not a very extensive song list, and had zero stage presence and no clue as to how to interact, or get the audience involved, despite several attempts by some audience members to do just that. He was a decent rhythm guitar player however. Now, let me also say Dan seems like a very very nice man. Between sets we got to visit with him a little, he was genuinely very nice. Does this mean, I shouldn't have given him any feed back at all as to how to improve his show, and just tell him I thought he was awesome, because he seemed like a good guy? No, how would he ever get any better, if what he thought he was doing was great? Its not helpful. We were respectful, as was most of the crowd, but I did fill out a comment card with what I thought he could do better.

So, if you think I was disrespectful to a multi billion capital investment group, no, I'm not sorry. I think they can handle it, and I am sure the opinion of one little blogger in far away Arizona doesn't really matter to them, in either their business practices, or in their quality of life, so I make no apologies. Why should I apologize for my opinion? I don't owe them an apology, any more then they owe me one, or $2.99 for that matter.

So, raise your glass of Big Flats 1901, and give a hardy screw you to your detractors!

Until next my friends,
Bottoms Up
The Beer Czar

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