We Are the 11%

sour beer

The above tweet and responses came from ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell, who, admittedly, has one of the most ardent collection of online trolls of any reporter personality.

But the reaction from several of his followers isn’t just a case of Angry Internet Stalkers emerging form under a bridge. It’s an honest representation of how many view beer – it’s a means to get drunk or access to some kind of WHALEZBRO dick measuring contest.

It’s easy to get caught up in our own world of beer enthusiasm, where like-minded people reverberate our passion and interests, but it’s also an insulation. The vast majority of beer sales are still macro lagers. Michelob Ultra is growing at a fast rate. Alcohol content does matter to people.

Craft beer is 11 percent of volume share. That leaves a lot of percents on the table … or in pint glasses.

So every time we have a conversation about whether craft lagers are A Thing or how hops impact what beers we drink, it’s even more important to remember that most drinkers are not us. They’re interested in how they can make beer bend to their wants and needs, whatever they may be, or how calories might impact their waistlines.

Perhaps this is why conversations with friends often lead to the importance of education with fellow beer drinkers, to show there is more out there than a hopped up IPA or barrel-aged stout. But many drinkers might not care, and that’s OK.

It’s just a reminder that the beer-drinking public goes far beyond blogs and online discussion threads where people actually know what’s a Pliny the Elder.

We can be a niche, but don’t ignore the rest. It’s our own educational opportunity waiting to happen.

Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac


8 thoughts on “We Are the 11%

  1. Huh, the Juicy Juice author is a substance abuse counselor.

    When I had my first sour, I was so taken back as 1. I didn’t realize sours were a category and 2. had no idea what I had in front of me. It was at a bar when a friend had just been laid off and a mutual friend ordered a round of “whatever you can serve in the largest size glass”.

    You’re dead on that a lot of people don’t really care and a lot of people have just never been told about beer styles that don’t enjoy all of the market rage (even in craft circles) right now.

    1. The first sour I ever had was a Rodenbach Grand Cru, which just about scared me away from ever trying such a thing again. Then I was patient for a few sips and my eyes were opened.

      I’ve had many conversations around the place “regular” consumers have within the beer industry, which is to say, nearly all of it. I think it’s a good reminder to see that trends and info us enthusiasts talk about are far from the minds of everyone else.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  2. I always tell people that we “craft beer geeks” sometimes forget that we’re on the top of the iceberg. There’s a whole host of beer drinkers out there (even those who drink craft) that don’t know, or want to know about this blogging/event driven/Pliney world. They just go about their lives.

    1. I’d even say the majority of drinkers – but at least there’s growing public interest where there’s potential for reaching out and education.

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