There have been a few times in the last year or so where we’ve seen a beer referred to as ‘hyped’ when we’ve literally only heard it mentioned once or twice.
Then the other day we saw someone complaining that a beer they liked had been ‘ignored’ and something seemed to click: is this all about a handful of prominent voices on social media?
The person we immediately thought of is Matt Curtis who has his own blog at Total Ales and also writes for Good Beer Hunting among other outlets. He was the first person we noticed mentioning Mills Brewing, for example, and literally within an hour or so of him doing so we saw someone complain that they were being hyped.
Two things bother us about this.
First, what’s Matt meant to do? Taste every beer in the UK and give each brewery equal airtime? He likes some beer more than other beer, some breweries more than others, and ought to be allowed to express a preference.
Then there’s the abdication of responsibility. As we’ve said several times now, don’t moan that no-one is blogging about a brewery you think is interesting — write about it yourself! If you don’t like how prominent a beer or brewery is, don’t contribute to that prominence by going on about it. And if you think a beer is being ignored, let people know about it.
Hype isn’t something you have to endure — it’s something you can create too.
If you want to get your brand name on the radar don’t send samples to bloggers, send them to RateBeerians.
That’s the conclusion we reached after researching this story on the weird prominence of Good King Henry Special Reserve, the only British beer in the RateBeer top 50, for All About Beer:
The flurry of high rankings that followed that summer gathering—most awarding 18, 19 or 20 out of 20 and accompanied by profuse thanks to ‘Chris_O’—put the beer into the Top 50 chart. That might have been a blip except those events brought it to the attention of Edinburgh beer lover Craig Garvie. He is an enthusiastic character often to be seen at beer festival in a colourful bowler hat, steampunk shades and with his beard dyed one shade or another. A particular fan of strong stouts, he knew he had to get his hands on GKHSR.
We were prompted to research and write that piece because we, despite paying fairly close attention to British beer, had never heard of Old Chimney’s brewery or come across any of their beers on sale anywhere, ever.
On a related note, we were pondering writing something longer in response to this Tweet…
…to which our initial response was, yes, marketing is important, but word-of-mouth about great beer is the best marketing you can get.
But the GKHSR story demonstrates very clearly that you don’t need fancy graphic design, expensive advertising or squads of PR people to make a splash.