The first Friday of each month brings together beer bloggers around a common topic under the banner of The Session. This month we host!, and I’ve chosen the topic “are breweries your friends?”:
I believe this is the first Session to be hosted by a brewery rather than beer blogger. How do you feel about that? Do you want your feeds clear of businesses, or do you like when a brewery engages with people?
Spoiler: I have no idea
Obviously I have a vested interest in this subject. I chose it, after all, and mostly because I have an ongoing internal struggle about it. I like to think that I do good work here: I try to be a good mix of entertaining and informative, and since I do honestly think we make amazing beer and you should buy it I never feel like I’m a shill or trying to trick anyone.
But I am trying to sell you something, aren’t I? Sure, my reason for writing weekly blog posts might be that I’ve finally found an audience to read my stupid opinions, but functionally, at their core, these posts serve as a weekly reminder that hey CBW exists and you should buy our beer.
Companies are not your friends. I absolutely cannot goddamn stand Denny’s social media presence. I get a big “how do you do, fellow kids” vibe from them. You hired a teenager to do your social media, great, you’re still a faceless multinational corporation.
Which is how I go to sleep at night: we aren’t a faceless multinational corporation. In many ways, this blog gives us a face, I’d say, in that you’re reading what is essentially my personal blog that nominally is about beer but which has in the past been about things like Doctor Who, board games and dealing with anxiety.
A historical take
In history class I learned that before the Civil War people said “the United States of America are”, and afterward it became “the United States of America is”. Plural vs singular. Non-Americans still do this for bands and corporations and so forth: “Radiohead have put out a new album” instead of our “Radiohead has put out a new album”.
This makes an important point of how we view collections of people: the entity acts, the people within are forgotten. The Entity releases an album. The Entity uses “on fleek” in a desperate attempt to seem relevant. The Entity donates large amounts to political candidates.
Maybe it’s just because I’m on the inside, but I don’t see CBW as a monolith: we’re a collection of people. Are, not is. The Brewery cannot be your friend, but I can. In fact, with one exception I’d say I’ve met all of my closest friends because of beer and/or CBW. I recognize the regulars who come into retail: this person has a ceramic growler that I love; that person comes in for one pint and leaves. Sometimes people dress up for us. Our customers are not just Person A5A62D, they’re people whose names I feel really bad about not remembering.
But I can’t really say “we’re an ally to consumers”, can I? No more than I can give myself a nickname. Anyone who tries should be viewed with suspicion.
Even assuming there can be “good ones” to be one of, “small” or “transparent” or “charasmatic” or “adorkable” seem like bad candidates for inclusion since those can easily be co-opted by the forces of evil and turned into marketing buzzwords (what’s the definition of craft beer, again?). It might be like the definition of pornography in that you know it when you see it, or it might be like dividing by zero in that you fundamentally can’t.
I suppose, in the end, I’m saying two things: that I think about this a lot, and do everything I can to be genuine; and that if despite all that you remain unimpressed, well, I understand.