Monday, January 13, 2014

How many chances do you give a brewery?

In the world of beer, first impressions go a long way towards establishing and building up an audience. Put out quality product on a consistent basis and even your standard offerings are likely to make a good impression on the first-time drinker of your product.

On the flip-side, all it takes is one bad batch or one awfully generic recipe to turn away new customers. I notice this happens quite often at beer festivals. Someone will take a sample from a brewery’s table, and either shrug it off or dump the rest and move on to another table without trying anything else. They probably assume that if the brewery can’t make something as idiot-proof as an IPA taste good, or it’s got a flaw that the novice homebrewer knows how to correct, then what does that say about their recipes and brewing techniques?

That being said, not everyone judges every brewery solely on their first impression. In fact, I often find myself giving breweries a second and third chances. I’m not entirely sure why, though. I suppose a part of me just wants to believe that first beer was just an old or improperly handled bottle or can, so maybe it’s not a fair litmus test. Or maybe that first beer was so bad that I felt personally scorned and wanted to bash the brewery by reviewing their other products and pointing out how lousy they are across the board.

I’m not going to list any specific breweries because I don’t want to make it seem like I’m singling anyone out. Truth be told, I could list well over a dozen breweries on my “will not drink again” list. Though if you follow my daily beer reviews at you can probably take an educated guess as to who I’m referring to.

What’s ironic is that I often find myself giving the macro breweries and “crafty” breweries plenty of coverage even though I rarely enjoy their offerings. In fact, it’s kind of fun to deliberately review these types of beers because they’re bad. When a beer like Natural Ice tastes awful, I mostly just laugh it off because I knew what I was in for. But when a supposedly “true to style” beer from a craft brewery tastes worse than Blue Moon I feel like I’ve been burned. Is it just me?

NOTE: This topic isn’t meant to be a brewery-bashing thread. If you’ve got beef with a specific brewery, please don’t use this as a platform to air your grievances (not even the macros).

  1. Do you judge a new brewery on a single beer, or do you like to try most or all of their lineup before deciding how good they are?
  2. How many chances do you give a brewery before you stop patronizing them?
  3. Would you stop patronizing a brewery because you don’t like their recipes, or do you avoid them based on brewing flaws?
  4. Do you give craft breweries more or less chances to impress you compared to the macros?
  5. Do you hold craft breweries to a higher or lower standard than the macros?
  6. What if a brewery makes great beer but their service is lousy, or you disagree with their politics or business practices – do you continue to patronize them?*

*I could probably make an entirely separate thread based on this question alone.

1 comment:

  1. I won't give up on a brewery based on just one beer, but will on two or three. Or I will check out their reviews on beeradvocate - low numbers and a beer I don't like might be enough. I try to give extra chances to local breweries, but there are a number of new york breweries that just really aren't that good. Why would I drink a beer that is just decent from a local place when I can have one of the best beers in the word?
    I give small places fewer chances, What are the odds that the latest startup brewery is going to be producing workd class beers? It can happen (Jacks Abbey) but rarely. I will give Sierra Nevada / Lagunitas / Southern Tier a lot of chances - I will pretty much try anything they make even if I don't like some because the odds of a world class favorite being in there somewhere are pretty good.