Exploiting Subcultures

Maybe it’s just me, but when I see business exploit some aspect of their town or building in order to gain sales I go nuts. Whether it’s Pike’s Place Brewery who still tries to bill themselves as one of those small quaint shops you find at the market, or the coastal breweries talking about caring for the fishermen. I look at these things and can’t help but wonder why people feel all warm and fuzzy about this kinda BS. The fact that your brewery is in the former home of a Civil War veteran doesn’t make your beer any better. If anything the fact that Thompsons markets the history of their building as if it has something to do with McMenamins or their brewing is silly. Does anyone really buy into this “we have a quaint little business because of our location” stuff? 

Location isn’t the only thing brewers exploit for marketing. The one that’s bugged me for a few years now is the mantra of the coastal brewers. If you read Rogues little story they talk about feeding the fishermen, and caring for the local community. Rogue’s pubs don’t strike me as the local hangouts their stories bill themselves as. They may have started as those, but now they’ve become more centered around the tourists, and less around locals. And also along the line of the tourists is Pelican in Pacific City.

We’ve known some of the dorymen out at Pacific City for years. In fact one of them worked with both my father and grandfather before I was born, and their still friends to this day. The Pacific City Dory Fleet has had to weather storms before. Back when hang gliding off the cape was all the rage their traditional camping grounds were over run since it was the cheapest place to stay. Now though they face a storm that’s not taking their camp ground, but their launch points for their boats. For awhile now a battle has been waging between surfers and the dorymen. In fact the city finally put up a sign splitting the beach. But with the growing popularity of Pacific City as a tourist destination the launch points are threatened once again. What does this have to do with Pelican? Well Pelican oppenly embraces the dorymen as a marketing strategy, and claims to care about the local community. But while the dory fleet and locals try to fight the cost that tourism is taking on their traditions Pelican embraces the tourist business. This has caused some ill feelings, especially during an event at the brewery. Is it legitimate? Well the beach is for everyone, just seems they should campaign for the dorymen, or the locals, if they truly care.

Those are just a few examples of breweries exploiting things that don’t matter, ar that they don’t care about to sell beer. Why does this bug me? Because beer should be sold on it’s merits alone. It shouldn’t take BS marketing to sell beer, and I think the fact that brewers do it lends less credence to craft beer.

Please, feel free to share your thoughts.

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