This Tweet triggered a conversation on which we eavesdropped with interest:
is it me, or when you read a brewer saying that they don't care for ratings websites, oft means beers have been flamed on there?
— Phil Lowry (@PhilLowry) October 20, 2014
Follow up responses seemed to suggest that Ratebeerians as know enough to be dangerous without offering a useful opinion:
— BeerBirraBier (@beerbirrabier) October 20, 2014
Now, we don’t rate beer ourselves, but we find it odd that people in the business of selling beer react so badly to those who do.
As with TripAdvisor, mischief aside (one-review wonders, attempts at extortion) you’re getting a direct output from the minds of the kind of people who are inclined to buy your beer. People pay a fortune for market research and you’re getting it for free!
They might use incorrect terminology, or misunderstand the style you were aiming for, or even judge a beer without having given it a fair tasting… which makes them just like normal people.
On that basis, if a substantial number say they don’t like your beer, however clumsy their efforts to explain why, maybe you should look into it.
Otherwise, the odd one-off bad review really doesn’t matter — it’s a drop in the ocean, a rogue result.
And brewers who find themselves crying “But it’s not fair — we score low because we don’t brew the kind of beer that Ratebeerians like!” should probably take a moment to ask, in that case, why they care what Ratebeerians think. Self-doubt, perhaps?