As a follow up to my last post, Dirty Deeds, I sat down and spoke with one of the guys behind the beer, Patrick Ale (you could say we had an Ale of a ti… bah forget it.) to discuss the brand, beer and the industry in general.
I did record the interview but the more I thought about it, the more I thought using straight up quotes would hinder from the general impression I got.
Firstly, my opinion on the brand hasn’t changed – but as I said to Patrick, if everyone liked all brands then it would be a pretty boring industry.
On the flipside, Patrick freely admitted he underestimated the market and given the chance to do it over again, they would do things differently. The missteps made are obvious but the fact they are open to criticism while actively engaging the community is admirable.
I’ve had respected breweries (well marketers) retweet criticism with a “thanks blah blah blah” comment. Making it painfully obvious they never actually read what was said, so it’s refreshing to have someone willing to sit and chat after criticism has been cast. And to be honest, if I was a businessman trying to enter a market and was copping it from uppity bloggers such as me, I would probably just tell them to get stuffed.
As a beer lover, it is easy to begrudge someone out to make a quick buck at the expense of the an industry I love. Anyone who knows much about what happened in the 90s in American beer will know just how damaging people out to make a quick buck can be. It’s not anti-business – it’s about protecting the industry.
Over the course of the night I was happy and excited to learn that Patrick has an increasing appreciation for beer and they still plan on building a brewery to move away from contract brewing. They have a Sabco pilot system which they are using for experimentation and small batch brewing; and are coming out with an IPA aimed directly at us “beer geeks” (a quote!). And in contrast to many similar beer businesses he was able to tell me what hops they used in the Pale Ale (Cascade and Amarillo) while also leaving with a list of sour beers I recommended over the course of the evening. Anyone we can convert to sours is surely at least a small victory, right?
We can be precious as a community and industry but I also think we need to be; however just as a good bar person should help a customer standing bewildered at a row of unfamiliar taps, maybe it is in our best interest to engage businesses trying to make a quick dollar. While I fear many won’t be willing to take our often harsh and unforgiving “advice”, I think those that do should be given some credit.
I would rather see brands like this become a constructive part of our scene, rather than barely a footnote like so many before.
To finish, I should probably mention the beer. In all honesty, it wasn’t bad. Decent floral aroma and a clean finish. While it might seem tame compared to many pale offerings hitting the market, it’s also tastier than a few others. Will I reach for it next time at the bottle store? Probably not; but will I actively avoid it like I do a some other brands? no.
And who knows, maybe we’ll see a sour version sometime soon?