Each week, Tony Budny pens SCREAMING INTO THE VOID and looks at the best in writing and social media conversation around the biggest issues in beer. If you feel something should be included, have a tip, or just want to sound off, feel free to look him up on Twitter @drinksthethings, email DCBeer, or hit him up on snaptube or what else the kids do these days.
SAVOR is Over. What Was the Deal?
Another SAVOR has passed with questions raised as to whether the event has lost its luster. It is still a premier event in town and has plenty to offer, but the ticket sales pattern has changed from the days when both nights sold out in an hour. That said, SAVOR still sold most, if not all, of the tickets. And, as BYT's Phil Runco points out, it is larger than ever, with more events filling bars around town and more than enough beer to take down a bull elephant. The DCBeer calendar of events was so full that it looked like a Picasso painting. The food for this year's main event also stood out as better than in past years.
So, does SAVOR need a brand upgrade? Changes? Is it becoming a shelf turd?
Until next year.
Craft Beer So White Read of the Week
In another piece that has become a recent trend, craft beer looks inward at its painfully obvious demographic problem. This is nothing new. In the past year, it seems industry analysts have become more self-aware of this problem. Most talk in circles about the same relative things: find a person or people of color to speak to in the industry, talk about the marketing of malt liquor in the 70s to people of color, talk about how craft beer is a luxury good, access to capital, maybe the racist history of Prohibition, etc. But, there is one place to start that the article points to very early on:
I don’t know if this is true for the American industry, but I can’t imagine it's far removed. This piece has some demographics from Nielsen, but those don’t come from the industry at large. The writers and analysts seem very much aware of the problem, but the trade associations appear to be covering their collective ears. It’s one thing to acknowledge the complexity of the problem and another entirely to ignore it because solutions aren’t easy.
Are you listening, Brewers Association? Until trade associations get on board and start asking the same questions about themselves, these articles are going to keep popping up every so often, asking the same questions. When will you start searching for answers?
This opened up a long discussion about beer consumption demographics with Jason Notte.
Lots of stuff going on there. Feel free to scroll down and click through the conversation, as most of the tweets are connected. It’s a difficult subject to talk about without navel-gazing for 18,000 words, as I am just another in a long line of white guys writing about this, but the two tweets that really drive home the crux of what we were talking about are:
Also relevant to the points made within is this piece on AB-InBev targeting immigrants' hometown nostalgia. The demographics of beer are changing, and if there is a craft beer bubble to overcome, looking outside of the comfort zone may be a good way to ward off its negative effects.
Speaking of the history of beer, I wonder if this Smithsonian project, supported by the BA, will show some of the same things these articles talk about? I doubt it.
Dogfish Head is updating some of its labels as part of its first real brand refresh. Hope you like this newfangled “dark IPA” you’ve probably never heard of known as "India Brown Ale." Can’t wait to try it. In other news, my first name is now IPA. It’s pronounced just as it looks.
Oh, speaking of IPAs you’ve definitely never heard of, Russian River is opening a new production brewery in California. 85,000 square feet, 84,000 of which will be dedicated to Pliny, I’m sure. It’s not like the barrels of their sours take up that much space, right?
Look at that guy. He definitely wants you to drink his beer at 8am.
Other Reads of the Week
- Here’s a full write-up about Montgomery County, MD's Department of Liquor Control. Sticky notes work for me to organize some parts of my schedule. It probably isn’t the best to keep track of inventory for an entire network of stores, however. But what do I know?
- Do you like salt? Do you like tang? Well, gose is here to stay as a style of choice for the summer and brewers are trying out new types of salt to quench thirst, like one, which is “a French gray sea salt, hand harvested from the clay bottoms of the French Atlantic salt marshes surrounding the Isle of Rhé.” I can’t even read that sentence with a straight face it's so pretentious-sounding.
- MORTAAAAAAAAAAAAL KOMBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT
- Cloudy beer production is one the rise. Jeff Alworth looks at the trend with a critical eye.
- Craft brewers are asked what is their go-to beer when craft isn't available. Pay close attention to the answer given by Boulevard Brewing’s Jeremy Danner who, I’m sorry to report, lost the brewery in a game of bocce shortly after gaining another one.
Never joke on the internet, folks. Only serious tweets from now on.
- Former DC Beer editor Andrew Nation sat down for a long conversation with Good Beer Hunting about his brewery, Great Raft Brewing, in Shreveport, Louisiana. Living the dream. It’s Andrew’s nation, we’re just living in it.
Happy Hour of the Week
Here, I’ll just let the Post's Fritz Hahn make the selections for you. Go drink some mezcal and High Life to end your day.