I Think We Can Do Better

“I think we can do better.” – Julia Herz, Beer and Food Summit, CIA, St. Helena CA 2015

Julia’s a wise and savvy person. And I agree with her entirely.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

I know we can do better to invite women into beer. I know we can do better to describe beer flavors and attributes. I know we can do better to explore pairings of beer and food together. I know women can pull a chair up to the table to get involved. I know beer brands must be fully respectful to everyone they wish to sell beer to. I know we can do better in so many ways.

Doing better means you have to have a mark in which to see what ‘better’ means.

So if we think, say, pairing  beer and pizza is good, I’d say – we can do better. Let’s look at focusing in from the way too generic Beer and Pizza to something like Porter and Crimini Mushroom Pizza. That’s better.

To pair beer and cheese: we can do better by pairing not just any beer and any cheese. We can use a great resource like Janet Fletcher’s Cheese & Beer book to educate ourselves and learn to match flavors.

To market beer: we can do better by universally assuming full respect for all people, all makes, models, identifications and preferences. Who cares what all those ‘things’ are when what the human population simply craves togetherness. Let’s do better by getting together over what is universal: flavor.

We can do better. And we can do a bit better every day. In the interest of continually improvement, we can all do better when we realize that doing better makes the world better too.

Doing better means one thoughtful action at a time, adjusted to be better. Try it. Have fun, see improvements domino.

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Celebrating Diversity

“Celebrate the diversity that’s available.” – Charlie Bamforth

Last fall I had the pleasure to speaking on a panel at the Culinary Institute of America’s first Beer & Food Summit. What a ball! The people present were all very engaged. It was a very mixed group from all sorts of backgrounds and professions.

Charlie Bamforth is a character in the profession of beer who has done much good work for the bigger idea

Friendly folks at the CIA, St Helena CA

Friendly folks at the CIA, St Helena CA

of beer. I’ve heard him speak a few times and he’s lively, funny, and gets to the point. To hear him promote the idea of celebrating diversity in what beer is today is encouraging.

The word Diversity seems to be everywhere today. No surprise there since our world is expanding, exploding and integrating faster than ever before (again, no surprise). Celebrating diversity in our mindbogglinglyfast changing world is a great approach.

Like a good friend of mine tells me, change is coming whether you want it to or not. May as well open your arms and welcome it.

Beer is good for celebrating. Celebrate what you like, what your friends drink and the abundance and variety diversity affords our tastebuds. Cheers to that ~

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Beer, Wine & Spirits – Oh My $$

  • Beer: $101 billion
  • Wine: $36 billion
  • Spirits: $65 billion
Julia Herz, CIA 2015

Julia sharing in her dynamic style at the CIA.

The tornado & spokesperson Julia Herz, Brewers Association Craft Beer Program Director, shared these stats at the CIA recently.

Whoa. Think about those numbers for a moment…..

Or two.

Then to let it further resonate, realize that constitutes 1.5% of the American Gross National Product. Beer Serves America echoes these numbers and also provides more info here.

When you’re supporting beer in our communities know it goes way beyond the glass.

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Neurogastronomy: What Is It?

The Yale School of Medicine is helping define neurogastronomy.

Anne G/CIA Marketing & Ginger at the Crafting Beer and Food Summit, CIA

Anne G/CIA Marketing & Ginger at the Crafting Beer and Food Summit, CIA

I first heard the term recently at the CIA, St Helena campus, at the inaugural Crafting Beer & Food Summit. As a panelist and participant at the event, the flavor theme came up over and over and over…and it’s one I, daresay, preach about. Flavor first, then style or whatever else. To me it’s the entrance to our sensory gustatory experiences.

While the word hard some immediate familiarity, knowing the richer meaning and further information is fascinating. The book of the same title by Gordon Shepard expounds on the concept. More fascination.

So what’s this connection of brain and flavor? Scent and mental? Perhaps even scentimental…. Queue more fascination, please.

It’s true progress to see an icon recognize and promote beer – just as they have long promoted and championed wine.

Read up, sip, nosh and learn. It’s where everything should start: brains first.

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Quality Is Queen

What’s on the collective mind of the professional beer community? Quality.

On the heels of the brewery explosion – which is still mushroom clouding – smart brewers and business people in the beer world realize and know quality is queen.

Deschutes is a great example of quality driven beer.

Deschutes is a great example of quality driven beer.

Here are a few indicators:

  1. Having been invited to be a panelist at the inaugural CIA Crafting Beer & Food Summit, Napa CA, we were asked to talk about the Business of Beer. Nicole Erny was right on in her comments and I’d echo the same: quality + business = success.
  2. Consistency is also queen. Inconsistency of brands which are supposed to be consistent is not the way to build a business nor a clever marketing ploy to promote a brewery’s beer. Inconsistency is different from variety and variation of beers that get the green light to vary.
  3. When an entry-level consumer tries a beer which is not to style or brand, then we’ve all f’d it up. That sort of experience is a tough one to overcome. Plus if the consumer likes the non-quality beer, then we’ve just warp speed damaged what the experience is supposed to be.
  4. The Brewers Association recently released the Quality Management Book, written by Mary Pellettieri – and gave a complementary copy to every BA member. PLUS they already had the Draught Quality Manual out for establishments pouring beer on draught.

Quality is queen. It should be, as a quality product should be the goal and daily driver of all businesses. There’s a lot of poor quality beer out there, created by brewers who are too blindly passionate to realize that poor quality beer brings everyone down and hurts the industry community.

Ground zero is you and me. As the buyer and consumer of beer, we must demand quality, get to know beer, and speak up for quality.

Rally time is here. Join me in the call for quality.

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Crafting A Beer & Food Summit

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”
Abigail Adams

Education is queen.

So it was enthusiasm I signed up for a class My Fine Husband told me about. Crafting Beer & Food is a summit being put forth by the CIA Greystone, CA. It’s one of three Culinary Institute of America campuses, the other two being in New York and Texas.

I’d happily go to any of the campuses, so when I registered and offered myself up as a panelist, speaker and otherwise of service, they embraced the opportunity. Sweet! Ergo, I’ll be in distinguished company for the panel The Business of Beer & Food, Tuesday of the summit.  A big thanks to Anne Girvin of the CIA for the invite.

Education improves your palate.

Education improves your palate.

Beer & food go hand in hand, like a chicken goes in a pot. Many will jokingly say “beer is food” – and there’s some truth to that sentiment.

I’m excited to further my education, always glad for the fortuity to present, and see and meet engaged people. The sessions I signed up for are ones I’ve never seen offered elsewhere, specifically cooking with beer information. Since I cook with beer professionally as well as personally, these are of very high interest to me.

Full details are here and there are still some seats available. The summit is sure to be well worthwhile. I’ll circle back to share afterwards – though encourage you to register if it’s of interest to you.

With a nod to Ms. Adams, I’ll be attending with ardor and diligence. See you there.

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