Locals’ Blindness

Do you seek out local beer?

If so, why?

If no, why?

As of today, here’s what Dictionary.com informs:

local

[loh-kuh l]
adjective
1. pertaining to or characterized by place or position in space; spatial.
2. pertaining to, characteristic of, or restricted to a particular place or particular places:

a local custom.
3. pertaining to a city, town, or small district rather than an entire state or country:

local transportation.
4. stopping at most or all stations:

a local train.
5. pertaining to or affecting a particular part or particular parts, as of a physical system or organism:

a local disease.
6. Medicine/Medical. (of anesthesia or an anesthetic) affecting only a particular part or area of the body, without concomitant loss of consciousness, as distinguished from general anesthesia.
noun
7. a local train, bus, etc.
8. a newspaper item of local interest.
9. a local branch of a union, fraternity, etc.
10. a local anesthetic.
11. Often, locals.

  1. a local person or resident:
    primarily of interest to locals.
  2. a local athletic team:
    the locals versus the state champions.
12. stamp (def 22).
13. British Informal. a neighborhood pub.
verb (used without object)
14. Informal. to travel by or take a local train or the like.

 

Where does beer fit? And does a definition of local matter to you?

Local is, to me, more of a concept.

Snow: local
Wrangler: no local
Dog: local now

It’s about what’s close by, what’s been made or imported by a neighbor – do you support your ‘local’ coffee shop? Great – unless you live in a coffee growing area of the world, the beans sure as heck aren’t local. So why does that fit for you (if it does)? Local grocer? Local mechanic? Local bakery? Cheese maker? Tailor? HVAC tech? Same idea…they may live locally or be based in a locale close to you, yet the totality of their operations rarely stand on an island of local only.

As for beer, yes, you likely have a local brewery. The majority of the American population has one within 10 miles of their home.

Beer is made of 4 primary ingredients: water, grain, hops and yeast. So what kind of grain is in the beer you enjoy and where is it grown? How about the hops? The major hops growing regions of the country are few and far (literally) between; does that affect what beer you choose, if you aim for local? Yeast – well, some breweries harvest some of their yeast to re-pitch in subsequent batches. And when they need new yeast, where does it come from? Do you know where brewers get their yeast?

The term “locals’ blindness” is a new one to me and I thought it an intriguing concept. From what I gather, having locals’ blindness means you’re blind to what is outside your own definition of what is local (chime in if you can help me out here). When we think of beer, it would seem that some people shun their own locals’ blindness when a local brewery chooses to sell to another company.

Does that make it less local? I don’t think so. Does it change the business? Well of course it does; how could it not. Yet if it’s still in the same locale, it can still be local to many.

That’s why I think it’s a sticky, overused and oft-misused word.

I notice when local is used and, all the same, I don’t get too caught up in what is advertised as local; it’s always been a global economy. And as long as we use salt in our diet, drink coffee and tea, and want beer in our glass, we’ll participate in the agricultural and product-creating world at large.

Cheers to local, whatever it may be for you.

Here’s a good read as it relates to focusing your dietary intake on local.

Comments »

Local: For Better Or Worse

As I am entering the final few weeks of (at least one stage) of writing my first book on women & beer, I am running across some super fascinating and distracting insight. Women have graciously provided insight, opinions, and ideas for almost 8 years on their relationship with beer.

So today the word and concept Local is on my mind.

  • What does local mean to you?
  • What does it include and what does it discount? Why, for both, for you?
What's your definition of Local?

What’s your definition of Local?

For the book, I’ve worked on expounding on 10 fundamental questions from the original 2012 Women & Beer survey. The one that inspired this post is question 10: What does a beer company, restaurant, bar or distributor have to do to get you to buy from them more than once?

The connection and reply to this question is that a handful of women indicated that they’d return if the establishment carried, made or sold local beer.

So what does this mean – what exactly is local beer? And why do women want it?

This is where you come in. I’d appreciate your own opinion and reasoning to this query.

It used to be local meant down the street, in the same town and otherwise grown or made by someone nearabouts. Then it graduated to 100 miles; then 300. Now…well, to each their own definition (much like ‘craft’).

Is local better? Is it worse? Does it matter? If so, how so? If not, why not?

Thanks in advance for chiming in. I’m always interested in your thoughts. Cheers.

g

p.s. the book is due mid September 2016, a guidebook to marketing beer to women…stay tuned!

Comments »

What Does 'Local' Mean (#4 of 4 Series)

When you think in terms of local and regional goods, what do you think of?

What does it mean to be “local”? What about “regional”?

In focus groups, women say that buying local, more and more, matters to them. When pressed for what local means to them, we do an interesting dance.

  • “What does local mean to you”
  • That it comes from close by.”
  • “So is an egg produced by a chicken within 50 miles local?”
  • “(usually) Yes.”
  • “Farther than 50 miles??”
  • “No.”
  • “What about your beer – how close is local?”
  • (Run through similar questioning)

makes-beerAt the same time, because the conversation invariably turns to the fact that say hops is grown in limited areas of the world, then the definition is stretched to accommodate. And, knowing that, it’s perfectly fine with them.

They are telling us that local is a balance to strike – like everything else. Yes, they’d love it if all the ingredients were sourced locally, yet they realize that the crops are not necessarily available – so that is factored in.

Regional, well, that extends the definition even farther. If they want, say, a Midwest beer – wow! They’ve got a warehouse full of great choices. California? Same drill. Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota? It gets dicey simply due to sheer numbers.

So pay attention to how you advertise your ingredients. It can be a big plus – when a component is sourced close by. Just as importantly balanced out as buying organic. These are all conversations with your consumers and supporters you know. Talk it up.

Find out what it means to your patrons.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by Adrian Midgley

Comments »