Blogging and writing opinion

QUICK ONE: Hyped/Ignored

Beautiful beer glass.

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.

12 replies on “QUICK ONE: Hyped/Ignored”

Something I’m not sure about hype – does it mean a beer/brewery is talked about too much or is it akin to “overrated” a beer/brewery is being overly and undeservedly praised?

Bit of both, I think. Annoying that “everyone” is going on about it; extra annoying if it doesn’t seem to deserve the attention.

Great point made! There is a whole world out there of underground breweries with some amazing brews, many of which may never see the eerie blue light of a bloggers laptop screen. Yet all it takes is one well-written (and well-read) blog to bring about change, and these days, anyone can be a writer. Thanks for this article!

‘Well written’ is obviously important but so is ‘Well read’. Certainly anyone can be writer, but building an audience is another thing altogether. I’m not so sure that hype is something that many of us are in a position to create.

It must depend on who you follow and how often you check things. At times things do come in clumps. The weirdest one I’ve seen was the backlash against the backlash against the hype about Cloudwater. I’d missed the hype about Cloudwater, and the backlash against it, but somehow tuned in for the last act.

Isn’t the problem the mixing of the message and the messenger? Matt has quite openly described his personal branding efforts which I have no issue with – other than I have a hard time with the resulting task of determining what is the object of the promotion, the hyped beer or the hyped person. And this is in no way personal to Matt. In the clattering of ankles about the tussle of the prize of being “an authority on beer” there is a fair bit of this going on over the last 18-24 months. A narrowing yet raising of the voices of just whose word is worthy. This might be entirely natural as more folk seek to make a living, as I have said, from what I (and many wiser than me) do as a hobby. So when I read “hype” I read push back against the person accused of hyping, often quite unfairly.

The thing that always interests me about this is the number of people who tend to position themselves as lone voices speaking out against the all-powerful beer-communicator faction, but then turn out to be basically talking about Matt. I guess that implying that he’s a one-man consensus is a compliment of sorts?

Can I just say I’ve still never had any beer from Wylam – and until two minutes ago I’d never even heard of Mills. Is it really hype if it doesn’t make it as far as the outer layers of the bubble? (I was going to say ‘as far as the outside world’, but I’m a massive beer geek by outside-world standards.)

There’s definitely always going to be circles of hype in which certain breweries float around until conversation moves on, it might not necessarily be a bad thing either – they are being spoken about in those circles because they are something that circle will be interested in!

Only just catching up on my blog feed and am throwing virtual high fives your way this morning.

Re: the Mills thing. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I had gone to visit Hereford Beer House (a: because I am attempting to explore outside of the Metro bubble as much as I can and b: because Jonny and Amelie who own it are friends of mine.) I had gone for a cider event (c: I am trying to learn/teach myself about cider and this was an opportunity to meet Tom Oliver and Ryan Burke of Angry Orchard in the US.) The beer happened to be opened for the first time there and it was wonderful, so my first reaction is to upload my “stream of conciousness” style of thinking to twitter. People can do with that what they want, obviously. For what it’s worth I stumped up and bought a whole case of the beer and gave a few away as gifts to friends in the industry who I knew would be excited to try it.

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