Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beer Awards: What’s Your Opinion

Two major awards were released recently celebrating BC Brewers. These awards were people’s choice awards that operated by voting. One such award (CAMRA BC) had a technical error that allowed the same voters to vote multiple times if they deleted their cookies. Another award (North West Brewing News) was simply an online poll. Recently a brewery in British Columbia utilized the nature of these awards to their benefit by 1. Having people vote multiple times for them in the first contest, and 2. gathering a large network of supporters to vote for them in the latter.

The first tactic is ethically dubious, while the second is not. But, in my mind this underlies a fundamental flaw in beer awards generally. Namely:

1. Awards should not be popularity contests

Who cares if a brewery mustered the largest number of people to click for it in some poll? What does that tell you about the beer other than 1. it may be popular, or 2. It’s more aggressive at getting supporters to vote for it. Personally, I could care less about either.

2. Awards are too frequently marketing initiatives

Do we really need more marketing mechanisms? I don’t need to be marketed to via awards. Wine awards already do this and are, accordingly, meaningless and completely ignored by anyone who has any knowledge about wine. Should beer awards be the same? Shouldn’t effective beer awards have some sort of standards, some set of criteria, and a panel of experts to judge them? Otherwise, what’s the point? I’m all for trusting your own palate and drinking what you like, but I don’t see the need for a populist award if that is the case. I do appreciate what those with experience have to say when strict standards are adhered to, as even if I disagree with the results I can at least respect the process. Otherwise, awards are doomed to irrelevance.

What’s your opinion?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Event: Beer Wars


The Canadian craft beer movement faces many similar challenges to the U.S. in terms of battling big corporate entities and fighting for fair regulation. CAMRA BC, a local consumer advocacy group for craft beer is hosting a screening of the movie Beer Wars, a documentary on the battles that the craft brewing community has experienced in the United States. If British Columbia is to join the ranks of the craft beer elite, it needs to learn from the fight of our cousin brewers in the U.S. I should also mention that your ticket price includes the cost of all the beer you wish, being poured by some of BC's top craft brewers.
Here are the details:

Beer Wars Movie

Date: Sunday, January 31

Time: 4:00pm

Venue: District 319, 319 Main Street, Vancouver, BC

Cost: $30.00, $25.00 CAMRA members (includes entry & all beer)

Tickets: only 150; advanced purchase only

Local breweries will be on-hand serving a diverse selection of craft beer, including Steamworks, Yaletown Brewing, Granville Island’s new limited release Chocolate Stout, and Red Truck Limited Release Porter.

District 319 is an exclusive venue that is only available for private functions. It was an abandoned Asian movie house that has been renovated into a stylish, state-of-the-art multimedia facility.

No minors.

Click here to buy tickets.