Does your world need more labels? More identifiers? Do you want or need more delineation of what makes this such-and-such or so-and-so? Do you prefer to fly with fewer labels and definitions, preferring to define what it is that’s important within your own world and contexts?
I recently read a thought by a long-standing and well-respected (me included) brewery professional. The words were part of a longer sentences to the effect that “craft beer” does need to be defined and identifiable.
I disagree. Here’s why.
I’ve talked about labels and titles before. Starting with WEB, I know for a fact and from our qualitative research, that female labels and titles can be helpful or harmful. This is true with any category.
- Good: Women, females.
- Bad: Chicks, broads, babes, girls, vixen.
Any labels in any circumstance that is denigrating in any way, regardless of a closed (non public) audience or not can and will have an impact. When we name things, when we assign them labels and titles, we need to be super aware of this fact: it’s not about what you think is clever or appropriate. It’ll always be judged by others, who may or may not have a vested interest or concern in the name.
Do we have male groups using: Dicks, Dudes, Well-hung and other references to the person’s physical make up? I’ve yet to see one.
No, beer does not need other delineations. As it is there is a reverse snobbery that is growing in the beer world, specifically the line in the sand is using the ‘craft’ label to do so.
My take: Let it go. Beer is beer. Yes, I agree it matters to be transparent and to know where your beer came from. Just as it’s important to know where the pooch you acquired came from (for care reasons) or the milk in your fridge came from (health reasons), or the car or bicycle parts came from (quality, fair trade). There are way more important things to concern ourselves with per beer. Like the fact that almost all beer makers still don’t understand women make 75 – 85% of all purchases across categories AND there are many brands that are still using sexism and gender based marketing. How about we enlighten ourselves on the majority global population and beer first instead of getting too far ahead of ourselves.
At the beginning of the day until the end, it’s all beer. If you want to judge, do it privately and without admonition of others for enjoying what they want to, can and choose to imbibe.
So you know, it’s not without internal dialogue with myself and talking with others that I came to this decision on how I choose to define beer. A comment from another long-standing well-respected member of the professional side of beer threw my nascent thinking over the edge for the better. Stating that all things are ‘crafted’. I can happily live with that and stand behind that idea, over a definition that leaves out perfectly qualified products that others have deigned outcasts.
Some would argue that labels can help the reader and learner better quantify what it is that they’re pursuing. I’ll give you a tiny bit of head way here, though very tiny. Labels are only helpful if they define facts, not opinions or variably definable attributes and characteristics. The whole idea of education is to learn, proactively and actively seeking the increase your knowledge in your own way and through the methods that best resonate with you.
Putting a box around a definition of something like beer that is truly universal can only be limiting in a not so great way, as far as I’m concerned. Let’s all raise whatever glass of whatever beer we want to drink in context and be happy for it.