A conscientious craft beer zealot needs to stay informed about world affairs of the sort not commonly discussed at RateBeer. After all, yeast isn’t the only culture that matters, and a multi-disciplinary approach can be educational.
For instance, consider the nation of Turkey, which straddles the fault line between Europe and Asia.
“Yeah, we should all line up along the Bosphorus Bridge and puff as hard as we can to shove this city in the direction of the West. If that doesn’t work, we’ll try the other way, see if we can veer to the East. It’s no good to be in between. International politics does not appreciate ambiguity.”
― Elif Shafak in The Bastard of Istanbul
Admittedly, Turkey is not a country noted for its beer, although I can personally attest that when properly chilled, Efes Pils has been known to effectively wash down grilled lamb and stuffed tomatoes just prior to the cerebral obliteration otherwise known as Raki.
During recent months, the current Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been straining the elasticity of the Muslim country’s famed secular democracy, as The Economist magazine takes note.
The basic idea of a democracy is that the voters should pick a government, which rules as it chooses until they see fit to chuck it out. But although voting is an important democratic right, it is not the only one. And winning an election does not entitle a leader to disregard all checks on his power. The majoritarian world view espoused by Mr Erdogan and leaders of his ilk is a kind of zombie democracy. It has the outward shape of the real thing, but it lacks the heart.
And so we see that unwittingly, our talking Turkey today provides an excellent working definition of zombie craft beer: It’s the seeming appearance of former essence, and an inner conceptual vacancy.
Likewise, echoing Shafak, appreciating craft beer does not imply willingly tolerating ambiguity. Fortunately for those who are willing to accept facts, there is no ambiguity when it comes to zombie craft brands like Goose Island. It is 100% the wholly-owned plaything of AB-InBev – and, as history abundantly illustrates, AB-InBev is institutionally opposed to everything we’ve tried to achieve in craft … as opposed to crafty.
By the way, here’s a news item from Louisville’s Brew at the Zoo, coming in August:
“We’re excited to welcome Goose Island Beer Co. as a sponsor of Brew 2013!”
Leuven thanks us, each and every one.
Several months ago, the Forecastle music festival let it be known that Sierra Nevada would be the event’s craft beer sponsor in 2013. At the time, I made a few relevant points at my blog:
Once Sierra Nevada is THE beer “on the craft side,” the playing field is tilted away from local beers just as irrevocably as it is at Louisville Slugger Field, where the giant payola talisman of Budweiser’s billboard is a constant reminder of the way performance and sports venue business works. Why do you think Sierra’s building a brewery in Asheville, anyway?
This is the tactic being deployed at Forecastle, even if Sierra Nevada’s “craft” status blinds you to it. The result in either case is precisely the same insofar as local (breweries) are concerned. It means we don’t get in. Sponsorships of this sort exist to exclude, not to include.
If the money flowing into Forecastle’s coffers from a brewery 3,000 miles away enable the festival’s founder to take Forecastle to national prominence from a Louisville pedestal (now THAT’s localism in action, folks), then exactly what incentive is there to include local breweries in a beer garden when the sponsorship pie’s already been sliced to the satisfaction of the festival operator?
I decided to wait a while, then began using the ever-helpful Twitter truth serum tool to periodically inquire of Forecastle, “Will there be local craft beer at Forecastle this year?” Thus began a drearily predictable cadence, as evidenced by the following chronology of dissembling:
On May 29
“Hi Roger, we’ll keep you posted as those details come available. Thanks for reaching out!”
“Hi Roger, as stated previously, those details are forthcoming. Please be patient and stay tuned!”
“We’ve got plenty of enlightenment in store, all in good time”
Then, the belated admission:
“Unfortunately there isn’t going to be a local beer announcement … there’ll be plenty … in the Bourbon Lodge!”
And finally the best of all, coming after I pointed to the “details coming soon” tone of the preceding:
“We only ever said we were working on it. We did & when it didn’t work out, we let you know.”
Dear reader, I don’t know about you, but all I see coming from Forecastle were announcements of forthcoming announcements. Understanding how tedious it can be for me to insist on facts, not vacuous market-speak reach-outs, but isn’t it true that once Sierra Nevada was on board, the only “it” being “worked on” by Forecastle was dispatching a flunky to the bank for depositing the check?
When I heard the news that brewers yeast had been chosen by the state of Oregon as its official state microbe, my initial impulse was to cheer – but not too loudly, lest the Floyd County (Indiana) Health Department hear all the shouting, and conclude it must henceforth regard all microbes as human pathogens – because of course all human pathogens are microbes — and accordingly, brewers yeast must be outlawed in Floyd County … or barring the ban, subject at the very least to a special handling fee each time it is pitched in the brewhouse.
As you may be aware, NABC is engaged in a great struggle to determine whether the Floyd County Health Department can change its rules of regulatory engagement on a whim, absent any discernible statutory justification, and begin treating draft beer as liquid food.
But haven’t craft brewers been saying for years that beer is food?
Yes, we’ve been saying it, and the state of Indiana has not been listening to us, because in the sense of what the law actually says, and in the context of all sensible precedent, my obtaining a permit for NABC to pour draft beer into plastic cups at a remote location during a concert is a process governed by the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, not the Floyd County Health Department.
Like I said, knowledge is good. Appropriately for the approaching 150th anniversary of Ulysses S. Grant assuming control of the Union armies during the Civil War, “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.” For your edification, I offer the following links: