NOTE: When I moved to a new site, this “Beer Wars” series was mangled/destroyed during the move. I’ve reconstructed it by copying/pasting another copy of the original posts. I also lost the comments in their original form. I’ve copied/pasted the comments, but had to do so under my own name. So although it looks as though I’m the only commenter, I’m not. In each case, I’ve identified the original commenter.
Yes, I’m almost at the end. This is part ten of thirteen. And no, I never intended to string this out so long, which has resulted, I’m afraid in a more disjointed rumination than I originally intended. (Nor did I realize Life was gonna get in my face the way it has the past week.)
During the panel discussion, Anat showed a clip of Todd criticizing Rhonda for not making “real” beer. The general drift was that she doesn’t make “real” beer, so she’s not a “real” beer person or a “real” entrepreneur. She’s not “authentic.”
The exchange floored me. If the craft people want to exclude someone like Rhonda from, say, their trade organization, fine. But it strikes me as disingenuous to believe that they, and they alone, have the power to decide what is “real” beer and what is not.
And that gets at the heart of the matter (or one of the hearts, for this is a creature of many hearts): If the craft people want real beer, great. But their passion and desire for real beer does not grant them the power to deny other kinds of beer to other people.
Why? Because this is, after all, the United States, where we all believe in the “religion” of choice. It’s a big world out there. I’m willing to allow the craft brewers their corner of the world, but they in turn ought, I think, be generous enough to accept and acknowledge that not everyone agrees with them and their view of beer, real or otherwise. Nor should they render moral judgment upon those who prefer one kind of beer over another.
This is the essence of why battling over religion itself is pointless: If five people believe in five different gods, it’s clear that the “ real god” is whatever one each believes in. If so, then by definition, there can’t be “one” god. So why insist that your view of god is the correct one?
(And of course if I had the answer to that question, I would in one swoop solve most of the world’s problems.)
But the subtext of that discussion was, of course, the Big Brewers. No one came right out and said it, but in effect, they’re regard Rhonda as a patsy for Big Brewers, and, like them, foisting “non-real beer” off on consumers.
I have another view: I think Rhonda, and the Big Brewers are simply giving Americans what they want, and to understand why, we need to turn to the other villain in this piece: the 3-tier system.