It is either a testament to my growing older and more jaded and cynical, or an affirmation of my good taste, but I had the revelation today that I am hopelessly out of touch with what is “in”, as least as far as our mainstream media goes. On the eve before my thirty-ninth birthday, I happened across the latest edition of “Us” magazine while waiting for my wife. I stared at the cover blankly. I flipped through the first pages, ignoring the ridiculous ads for makeup and perfume and horrific new “style” ads, and then got to the pages of what are apparently celebrities. Page after page I gazed. I did not recognize a single “star”. Not until page ten with Gerard Butler (King Leonides in the epic 300) and Ellen DeGeneres did I finally say “Hey! I know those two!”
It was a sharp contrast to the other night when I finally sat down to watch Beer Wars. With rapt attention I listened to every word and recognized nearly every name and almost every face. And those I did not know, I went and looked up when the film was over.
So why didn’t I have the same response to the highly popular magazine content? At first I felt a pain of dismay. Am I really that out of it? Who are all these young pretty people that are apparently so important? How do I not even recognize their names? And then it hit me: because I don’t care. They are not important to my life. At all. No decisions they make affect me. The problems they run in to are not only not my problems, but not problems I am ever likely to face. No one (thankfully) is going to be scrutinizing my weight or how I look in a bathing suit. No one will be wondering what I was thinking when I selected my outfit for the awards benefit. And I think it is safe to say no one would care to hear about my make-up and hair tips.
But when Sam Calagione makes the decision to increase production and widen distribution of Dogfish Head, it matters to me. If Charlie Papazian calls for action to change the laws about craft beer in the United States, this has a direct impact on my life and lifestyle. Kim Jordan and her team are pioneers not only in the craft beer industry, but were trendsetters in “going green” before anyone even knew what that meant. Joey Redner pushing the Tampa City Council to allow Cigar City to serve beer on premises is not only good for me personally, but it moves the State of Florida closer to being at the same playing level as most of the rest of the country. These – and countless others like them – are the people that matter to me. The men and women of craft beer matter. What they do matters. The average person walking down the street may not stop and stare if they happen to pass Dan Carey on the street, but anyone who has had a Moon Man Ale or Rasberry Tart from New Glarus knows his work and the quality that goes into it.
But it’s not just about the beer. These are the men and woman who employ people in our neighborhoods. They come out and drink with us. They are the ones who take the time and effort every day to make sure that what they are producing is of the best quality and standards. You give them your hard earned money for their product, and they take that money and put it right back into making more good beer for us to enjoy. Of course they need and want to be profitable; they are businesses, after all. But there are far easier ways to make money, but more rewarding? Not a chance.
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