Craft beers ultimate end-game is to show there is a beer for everyone out there. And GOOD beer can be in the reach of everyone to enjoy. THAT is the purpose of craftbeer’s being. And when it gets hijacked by jerks on the Internet who run newcomers out of communities, I take issue. In fact, all of us should.
What triggered this piece is a post I saw yesterday on a facebook group that many of us Irish craft beer lovers frequent, the UK Craft Beer Network. And it not only disappointed me, but it made me angry.
Let’s call this b.s. what it is; bullying. And it should never be tolerated. Nothing signifies the ideal of camraderie, friendship & egalitarianism more then enjoying a beer amongst people, whatever their beer of choice is; macro or micro. And yes, I just said that.
I don’t (nor should anyone) hate people or verbally abuse those who are macrobeer drinkers, or those who have come to craft beer. I also do not for one second believe bullying is or should be socially acceptable in any form, especially online. Let me be clear here; any behaviour directed towards someone that makes them feel personally uncomfortable is bullying.
And when something like the craftbeer community exists as a means of providing a place of sharing, camraderie, fun & excitement is invaded by grade A jerks, it stops our community being vibrant. It stops it being welcoming. It stops it being inclusive. And frankly, this isn’t isolated.
Women’s craft beer groups are growing, & it’s hugely exciting to have more women join the community. One of the reasons these groups exist is because a safe place for women in the community is needed for them much like life. A great example of this is the Ladies Craft Beer Society of Ireland which was co-founded and is presided over by my good friend, Christina Wade.
Their raison d’etre states:
The central tenet of this group is to create a safe, welcoming environment for women who appreciate craft beer to come together to share tasting notes, brewing tips, favorite beers, swap recipes and much more.
‘A safe, welcoming environment’. Think about that for a second. Our craft beer community in Ireland needs this group to exist because it portrays a sense of a lack of welcome & unsafe in its social approachablilty. This shit makes me sad. Sad that people behave in such a manner for such a young movement in Ireland it is already divided. And let’s be real here. This isn’t something the craft beer community created, but our social community as a whole globally has created.
And it’s damning modern society still has need of this. Do I expect craftbeer to solve the world’s ills? Hell no. I’m not naieve. But, the craftbeer community by its very being of sharing, camraderie & the ideals of inclusiveness should evoke those feels in its members & contributors.
It should be a safe harbour to enjoy all of the aforementioned. And breweries should do their bit to ensure inclusiveness; refraining from lowbrow sexist labelling & marketing that macrobeer has embraced, appealing to the knuckledraggers who also embrace demeaning/degrading women. The image used on this piece is an example of craft beer stupidity & ignorance in degrading women previously by Coney Island brewing. And the written piece I sourced it from is in 2011. Six years on, I’m still facepalming that us Europeans who consider ourselves ‘so much better & smarter’ than our American counterparts still don’t get it, as proven by CAMRA’s idiocy in 2015.
And for newcomers to craftbeer; we should extend an open welcome, & celebrate their coming to the community to become part of the growing fabric of it. They are what keeps the movement going. What pushes more craft beer to be produced & be more widely available. And the community around it should for once be for everyone. Be inclusive. It wouldn’t accept racism in its ranks, so why in the name of hell should it & we accept sexism and or bullying?
Can’t we all just enjoy a beer, & enjoy the fact we all get to enjoy GOOD beer together as people? Or, is it just too much to ask in 2017 for some common civilty & egalitarianism?