A Brewer Writes…

Email inbox.

In response to Friday’s post about pop star brewers, we got an email from a brewer, who wishes to remain anonymous…

I think there are a couple of important points you haven’t discussed in it, as, not surprisingly you haven’t really looked at it through the brewer(s)y eyes.

Firstly, there is unbelievable demands from bars/pubs/restaurants/festivals for brewery appearances at anything and everything. We say no to way more than 50 per cent and yet do an event or two pretty much every week. You get quite practised at public appearances, and therefore most people get pretty good at doing them. Often the shy guy ends up doing it when no one else can!

Secondly, most of the small breweries you talk about struggle to get by (paying themselves below average salaries) and use these sorts of events as their main marketing tool. It’s a way to connect with the public and compete against the big boys with the only tool that they have at their disposal — themselves and their story. With social media helping to carry that message.

I personally don’t think people get in to brewing to get ‘famous’ even in a weird beery way, but if you happen to be good at standing up in front of people, you will be asked to do it again and again.

Some food for thought.

We should clarify that we don’t fundamentally have a problem with ‘meet the brewer’ events, as long as the ability to brew great beer remains more important than star quality.

6 replies on “A Brewer Writes…”

You didn’t really need to clarify that, it was very clear in your original post, and I believe it reflects the opinion of most readers. I believe that most understand that businesses need some kind of marketing or another, ans the figure of the brewer can be as good a tool as any other, the problem is when marketing is used as a sleight of hand to distract from a lack of substance.

Hi guys – hope all is well. Long time no comment! Thought it was time to poke my head above the parapet, as I enjoyed reading the earlier post (and the reactions to it) and am glad you’ve posted this in support, as it kind of follows what I thought the first time around.
Surely the crux of this is ‘airspace’ and that if people shout loud enough, or are given enough ‘airspace’, they’ll happily use it and therefore benefit from it. Meet the brewers – as reinforced here – can range from full experiences, such as brewing for a day, hosted tastings, even ‘live brewing’ these days, to the ‘corner of a bar, glasses of malt and hops, brewery t-shirts’ kind of events that still happen – at least up here, anyway. The two exist, yet which one garners more press? No doubt, the social media-driven ones, the ones that perhaps do something a little different. But one of the great things about beer – for me- is the blurring of the brewer/consumer line, and that it can be a very open ‘community’ if you will – whilst things are going well, of course.
Style over substance is always an issue. I’d like to think people can see through that, and I think that, again, dipping out of the bubble is useful for that. Not *everyone* loves Thornbridge, Roosters, Beavertown or Fourpure – whether they say it online is another matter. Maintaining an ‘even’ impression of the beer landscape in the UK can be difficult, given the various prisms we look at it through.
I’d be interested to know if the pubs and bars hosting MTB events get anything post-event from it, such as an increase in sales (which it’s all about, isn’t it)

Interesting discussion. In truth, I don’t think anything has really changed from 1850 to 1950 to now. There is a tendency to think (sorry some of the younger folk) that personalized marketing is new, that in the not-so-distant past, drinkers gratefully took whatever ichor/standard grade/slops brewers threw at them and said thank you kind sirs and paid their money with hat in hand. It wasn’t like that. Local breweries were always a matter of pride for many drinkers. Most of these brewers offered tours. Many supported local events . Some brewery directors were more popular than others, getting out into the community and getting known. In the closely-related (for this discussion) whiskey world, Jack Daniel was famous in his community, he was always out and about, dressed to the nines, shaking hands, making friends. He had equivalents in the U.K. whisky world, Jimmy Dewar was an example, a master salesman. In more recent whiskey decades, a guy called Richard Patterson has toured the world for some 20 years for one of the big distillers, a charming, knowledgeable guy, who speaks at festivals and exhibitions and people crowd around him just as for the Kochs, Dickies, the guy from Dogfish Head, etc.

English town brewers could not have been different, many of them, but they are not remembered, no one has chronicled their existence.

Even when you read 1800’s general literature – okay it’s years of google books trawling – you see that many journalists took an interest in local breweries, were meet by plenty of glad-handers at the gates, took an interest in the doings of the Victorian beerocracy. When Young’s was independent some of the family were notably marketing minded in a personal way, so were (and are) some of the Bateman clan, so were, and are, some of the Yuengling clan in the states.

Plus ça change, plus que c’est la meme chose. Or, there is nothing new under the sun.


You’d be on rather thin ice if you did have a problem with “Meet the Brewer” events, actually, given that you’ve recently run what are essentially a series of “Meet the Bloggers” events!

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