Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wherefore local beer?

President Obama visited my neck of the woods on Saturday.

Promoting Small Business Saturday (and buying Christmas gifts with his two daughters), he stopped in One More Page Bookshop, a small book store in the 'Little City' of Falls Church, Virginia. Well, okay, it's actually just over the border in Arlington County.

A couple of days ago, I riffed on this idea of a one-day only promotion of small businesses.
Why not, tomorrow, make it SMALL BREWERY SATURDAY, be that at the brewery (if it has an open house) or at a brewpub, or at an independently-owned beer shop, or at a locally-owned restaurant or pub that supports local beers. And, for that matter, why not repeat often?

... which begs the question, or, should I say, begs an answer. If beer itself is mostly a built product, produced by a brewer from ingredients shipped in from elsewhere, what's local about it? If a local beer is an 'inferior' beer, why should one buy it?

Padawan Pumpkin Ale 2012
My small contribution to Small Business Saturday was to visit Corcoran Vineyards/Brewing in Loudoun County, Virginia, and purchase a growler of beer.

Roger Baylor —an owner of the New Albanian Brewing Company, in New Albany, Indiana— gave his answers to those questions in a piece in Food And Dining. They bear repeating.
  • 1. the positive local business economic impact
  • 2. the likelihood that local most small breweries will be producing beer of good flavor
  • 3. beer is a local food
    • (a) the single largest component is taken from the local water table
    • (b) the finished value derives form local sources [emphasis mine]
    • (c) the resulting product is the freshest it can possibly be.

As to corporate breweries, and their 'faux craft' beers (even if of good quality), Baylor describes the end result of Anheuser-Busch InBev's purchase of Goose Island Brewery (figuratively completed with the recent retirement of John Hall, the founder of that brewpub and later large midwest brewery) as the
GOOSE ISLAND ZOMBIE CRAFT BEER UNIT that means absolutely nothing to A-B InBev save for its unquestioned utility as a tactical chess piece to keep genuine craft beers off store shelves and draft lines.

Good, sharp, witty stuff. Go to it: here and here.

  • Baylor writes a blog called The Potable Curmudgeon.
  • Tipped to Baylor's story by a BeerPulse Twitter feed.
  • More photos from Corcoran Brewing: here.

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