That’s especially true when it comes to things we’re going to eat or drink. At one extreme, there’s the cake your best friend bakes, decorates and brings to your birthday party; at the other, there’s Soylent Green.
We drink beer from big breweries all the time but, if we had a choice between two identical products, one made by a bloke called Dave who we could (virtually) look in the eye during our transaction, and another from Associated Global Beverages Ltd., we’d go for the former, like a shot. We might even pay a bit more for it. (Probably because of the looking-in-the-eye thing.)
Maybe we’re being mugs; maybe we’re falling for sinister anti-branding branding; and maybe we’re allowing fripperies to cloud what should be a clinical, emotionless appreciation of the beer itself, but, the fact is, we like the feeling of dealing with other human beings. It’s part of the pleasure.
In 1948, you bought a burger from the McDonald brothers. By 1960, you were buying ‘a McDonald’s™’. Carslberg is a beer brand which has, in the same way, become divorced from particular people or a specific place: it’s now a self-preserving, self-sustaining logo, pressing human beings to its service. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you drink its bland international pilsner.
When a big international company takes over a small brewery, it’s hard not to feel a bit sad, regardless of assurances that nothing will change, and despite stern lectures about perspective from those who are less soppy than us. Sorry, we’re just wet like that.