Posts Tagged ‘Thompson’s’

Exploiting Subcultures

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

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.

12th Annual Barley Cup

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

mcmenaminsTo be honest I see why some of the guys at Capitol Brewers weren’t crazy to volunteer to judge this. While it is an event, it’s more Thompson’s oriented and less beer oriented. That being said it was still a beer event.

I’d planned on attending this with a few friends and Salem’s beer and wine meetup group. Both my friends though had to bail, and no matter how hard I looked I didn’t see the meetup group. Granted I didn’t know any of the people from the group that were going, so that didn’t help.

A beer competition doesn’t have to be a big social get together though, and so I headed to the bar. On an evening like this one the bar was the best place to be seated if you didn’t mind the hustle and bustle. With all the servers coming in and out you could order quicker, and the bartender kept your drinks full in between filling tasting trays. I ordered a tasting tray and joined three other guys at the bar. For awhile conversation was fairly dead, but it was no biggie. Conversation isn’t needed when your brooding about the fact that neither of your friends could make it.

I was about halfway through my tasting tray though when I got a nice surprise. Gary Nance from the Eugene location came and had a seat at the bar also. We discussed brewing and the pros and cons of making beer for a company like McMenamins. Gary was a cool guy. The guys at the end of the bar bought him a pint (I wasn’t impolite enough not to offer, but he’d told me he wasn’t drinking anymore) and we all got to talkin. After I finished my tasting tray I followed traditional McMenamins style drinking in Salem and got a compition beer mixed with Ruby. Turns out the Drunken Monkey IPA combined well with it.

Final results were

Restitution Brown – Mike White, Corey Blodgett
Pullman’s Porter – Gary Nance
‘Merican Ale – Graham Brogan

After we had all finished chatting I headed home for some dinner before heading to Venti’s for some heather ale. Bobby informed me when I got there that they’d just drained that keg the previous night. What the crap??? I so wanted to try some. Oh well. I had a couple pints while Bobby and I caught up on what’s been happening since high school. After I finished I headed over to the World Beat and watched some fire dancing.

Here’s a little video of some of it.

Fire Dancing at World Beat from 72mm Blogs on Vimeo.