April 20, 2011

Local in the Arizona Standard Timezone

Today's post is brought to you by these calls for local beer:
Should one’s go-to beer come from another time zone? - Roger Baylor, The Potable Curmudgeon
..it's the people that put the local in local beer. Not the brewers nor the breweries nor their marketing teams, it's the consumer. - Andy Ingram, Beer Buzz in the Arizona Republic
The first quote comes from the founder of Rich O's Public House in New Albany, Indiana by the way of Stan over at Appellation Beer. (I'd forgive you now if you clicked on his site and never came back, it's great beer writing.) In his blog, The Curmudgeon really makes the case that beers (even great ones) come and go in any market and in and the best course of action is maintain perspective. There are dozens of alternatives these days and no beer is indispensable. His reaction to the pullout of Avery in Indiana (among others) is that he, "shrugged, yawned and filled a growler of fresh local beer."

We reached a similar conclusion in Wit or Witout You, when we lamented the loss of Avery White Rascal in Arizona. The long term solution is an opportunity for a local brewery to fill the void with a style of beer that is perfectly matched for our climate.

Today's Beer Buzz from Four Peaks own Andy Ingram asks, "What it Local Beer?" Andy acknowledges the point that all of the ingredients save the (often stripped and re-built) water come from thousands of miles away. Yet we all know there is such a thing as local beer. It is different. Both writers share the thought that freshness is that discriminating element and each point out the pervasiveness of the local brewery with most Americans living within 10 miles of one. There is nothing there to disagree with.

Where I might disagree with Andy is the role of the brewer and the consumer in the equation, perhaps only in percentage terms. I think it's admirable for him (he says corny) to credit the consumer in the success of local beer but I think it diminishes the role of the brewer and in some cases causes some unnecessary conservatism. Andy cites adventurous locavores in driving beer's direction, but I doubt that there was a call for civit cat poop coffee beer. If there is a call for every brewery to be required to make an Americanized wheat beer, I'd like that call to stop as much as I would like the 95% macro beer dominance to cease.

I think it's important for our breweries to lead and make some bold choices.  Four Peaks has made some.

Remember that our local time zone encompasses San Diego and Denver depending on the time of year. It's got to be tough to shake off that competition.

Take a bow, then give us another local choice.

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