Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Does it Matter? (2)

Looks like the results of Papazian's online poll are up.
Summary of the results (as of Oct 3):
  • 5, 264 votes were cast.
  • 51% of voters replied that it did not matter who made the beer they bought.
  • 49% of voters replied that it did matter to a significant extent who made the beer they bought.
  • 150+ comments were submitted to
Oh Fark... it's like the Argument Clinic sketch from Monty Python. Twentyfour-seven.

But Charlie puts the problem well:
Americans enjoy the best choice of beers available anywhere in the world. It’s my opinion that in this day and age of company consolidation, big box retailers, large grocers and ever growing large brewing companies, the diversity and choice beer drinkers enjoy today – is a becoming a very very fragile situation.

It’s hard to explain this to the average beer drinker. Here’s one point that’s worth making: Access to market remains a difficult proposition for small and independent brewers. Large brewers through their distributors dominate the decisions determining which beer brands get shelf space and how much shelf space they get. Distributors also significantly influence restaurateurs and the choices they make about what beer is served on the limited number of draft beer tap handles.

To the beer drinker it may seem logical that availability of a particular beer brand is based on consumer demand or profitability. But this is often not the case. Many beers receive shelf space or are delegated a tap handle because of the financial muscle a company can apply to force a decision upon the seller. Small and independent American brewers are often denied access to market due to these dynamics; regardless of consumer demand.
Could he be laying the groundwork for a push for increased specificity in labeling? If so, with Pete's Brewing v. Whitehead to contend with he is definitely moving in the right direction.

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The Twentyfirst Amendment Meets the 21st Century by Russell Hews Everett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. The opinions expressed on this page are purely my own, and should not be taken to constitute legal representation or advice.