beer business

The Hottest 100 and James Squire


‘‘Ohmageerdd! James Squire came in sixth spot! That’s not craft beer! And it was One Fifty Lashes! That’s the worst James Squire beer! Not that there’s any good ones, because they’re not craft!’’

That was me compressing the tone of a number of Twitter comments about Squire finishing in sixth spot in the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers.

Or, as Tom from Sessionable more eloquently put it

So I’m not going to get into an argument of whether or not James Squire is craft because, fuck me, that conversation is so frigging boring. Classing beer in terms of ‘‘beers I like’’ and ‘‘beers I don’t’’ is so much easier (and, I’ll add, is what a number of people actually mean when they talk about ‘‘craft beer’’).

But I don’t remember this angst last year, when Squire’s One Fifty Lashes finished in 55th spot. I don’t remember any ‘‘what’s this non-craft beer doing in my craft beer list?’’ complaints. So it must be annoyance at it finishing so high.

Well, that’s going to happen as this beer poll gets more popular – people who like things you don’t like are going to vote for me. Hell, I have little love for 4 Pines Kolsch but I don’t for a second begrudge the beer finishing in eighth spot. Because people are allowed to like things I don’t.

More importantly, the presence of James Squire beer finishing that high up is a good thing. Yes, a good thing.  I think we can assume it’s largely newcomers who would be voting for that beer – and I assume a lot of them would have had to vote to get it to sixth spot. I take two things away from this

1) A lot of people care enough about beer, and are passionate enough about the beer they drink to take the time to vote in a beer poll.
2) A lot of people are starting to make the move from mainstream beer to beers with more flavour.

These are good things. Now, some of these newcomers may well stick to James Squire and that’s completely fine – people are free to end their good beer journey whereever they want. But some will keep going. Maybe they’ll even look at that list and think ‘‘wow, there are so many beers I’ve never heard of before. I might try some of them’’.

We all win if more people start drinking good beer. If that happens, the market gets bigger and more brewers come in and make more beer. So that’s good for everyone.
Rather than look down upon those who voted for One Fifty Lashes, I welcome them. Many of them are starting out on their good beer journey and they’ve got plenty of great discoveries ahead of them.

Frankly, I’m a little envious of them.

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