Generalisations about beer culture

The Cult of Beer

It’s Friday and we’re feeling mischievous, so here’s an entirely (mostly) tongue-in-cheek comparison chart.

People’s Temple CAMRA Brewdog
Problems reduced to one simple explanation, repeatedly emphasised Imminent nuclear holocaust. Real ale. Craft beer.
Gain a new identity based on the group Church member. CAMRA member. ‘Punk’ or ‘scamp’.
Isolated from mainstream culture, mass gatherings, access to information controlled People’s Temple Agrictultural Project. Great British Beer Festival; What’s Brewing?; real ale pubs; Good Beer Guide; AGM. AGM, bars, blog, TV programmes.
Charismatic leaders Jim Jones. Michael Hardman and Christopher Hutt. James Watt and Martin Dickie.
Financial exploitation Religious communalism. CAMRA investments; direct debit membership. Equity for Punks.
Exaggerated membership numbers Claimed 20,000; probably had c.5000. “…journalists… began to over exaggerate… how big we were and that perhaps made the breweries take more notice than we deserved.” Graham Lees, 2011. ?
Persecution complex Believed corporations and government were ‘out to get them’. ‘CAMRA-bashers’, noisome bloggers. Diageo-gate, CAMRA ‘bans’.

If we’re making a point, it’s that no-one should confuse a membership society or a brewery with a Way of Life or Path of Righteousness. If you find yourself preoccupied with or becoming angry about CAMRA or Brewdog, consider deprogramming.

15 replies on “The Cult of Beer”

I know have the disturbing mental image of James Watt throwing copies of the Good Beer Guide around at GBBF, screaming “This book has held down you people for 40 years. It has no power.”

You’ve never heard of the Jonestown massacre!? Or you don’t understand the comparison we’re (not seriously) making?

Can we create a fourth category for beer blogging, too?

1. Over simplification: I have an important voice… not to mention public display of functional dipsomania
2. New identity: “I’m a semi-pro writer!” but really expenses way greater than any income.
3. Isolation: The glowing screen in the basement is my best friend
4. Charismatic leader: Stonch then Ron Pattinson
5. Financial exploitation: repeat purchases of overpriced seasonals and obscure imports not to mention repeated text coffee table books leading to children lacking winter boots; starvation level trade article payments and maybe obscure book deals.
6. Exaggerated follower numbers: “My stats… my stats… 7% up in Poland today…”
7. Persecution complex: No one listens. No one gets my point on imperial pilsners.

‘Parasites’ was the Bloggerist term I heard most recently.

Oh no — now I’m exhibiting a persecution complex! Quick, everyone into the inner temple and bolt the door.

Not wishing to get personal but are you sure about brewdog having charismatic leaders? I’ve met one of them a couple of times and ‘dour’ is the word I’d use to describe him.

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