Really, That Little Respect for Craft Beer?!


It’s the end of August and I’m thumbing through the paper, ok well it’s not real paper,
it’s online, but you still can thumb or swipe or however you get the page to turn. I
come across a full page ad for Shop Rite Wine & Spirits as it’s almost Labor Day and
they should sell a fair amount of beer, wine and liquor for the weekend. I don’t really
need anything but I decided to peruse the page to see what’s on special or at least
what’s advertised although it may not really be on sale. It’s about half liquor; all sorts
of vodka and gin, both great for end of summer cocktails and of course tequila,
whiskey, Captain Morgan’s (I don’t really get the spiced rum craze), etc. etc.

Moving down the page we have the wines, lots of chards, cabs, roses and of course
pinot grigio (now there’s a wine with absolutely no flavor if they ever made one). And
bingo there’s the end of the ad. Ah am I missing something here. So there are no
beer specials on Labor Day weekend even for the mega brews?? Do they think that
we beer drinkers will just come in and buy because that’s what we do and they don’t
have to appeal to us? And if I didn’t see any mega brew ads, you know I didn’t see
any craft beer ads… I’m starting to tug my necktie and mumble “no respect” as this
looks and feels to be a true Rodney Dangerfield moment.  And for those who may not
be familiar with him, please take a moment to YouTube him and catch one of his
many hilarious moments on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, he was good… In
fact I think I’ll go watch a couple and then continue…

Usually I just glance at these ads, but now you’ve peaked my interest. Is this a trend
that they don’t advertise craft beer much less beer at all? Now I’m “thumbing” a little
more slowly waiting for the next liquor store ad because they all must have ads for
Labor Day. Here we go, World of Liquor, let’s see what they have on sale. Woo baby,
about 20% of their ad is beer; ok so we’re moving up in the world. But let’s not get
too excited here as it’s virtually all mega brews. They do have a craft beer list so let’s
see, here’s a Sam Adams and a Brooklyn and an Octoberfest…and…we just fell off
the cliff, four imports (not sure why they’re in the craft section), a cider, which of
course isn’t a beer and Leinenkugels…seriously, ok ok so I know they’re owned by
MillerCoors, maybe some don’t, and they’re being politically correct by not saying
they’re a “bought out” regional that was probably distressed as opposed to a craft.

Well they gave me something, but really nothing. Maybe craft beer drinkers don’t
read the newspaper so don’t see these ads so therefore there’s no need to advertise
any craft beer here. I didn’t realize I was supposed to stop reading the paper. If I walk
into that store I can easily find fifty different craft beers (yes I said beers, not brands)
and if I count the bombers I’ll bet it’s close to a hundred.  That’s got to be at least
twice as many choices as the mega brews plus imports are giving me. (Note to self,
remember to start counting next time you hit the store to see if your approximate
numbers hold up.) Yes I understand there’s a lot more consumption of the mega
brews, but if you have two rows of four or five shelves of craft brews on your shelf
don’t you want your customers to look at them and buy some??? Isn’t it important to
turn them over? Isn’t that better for your business?

So yea I’m a little disappointed in what I’ve seen. But maybe they’re targeting us in a
different way…maybe they’re smarter than I think. I grab the Ale Street News which
has tons of ads in it. And sure enough there’s a Shop Rite ad saying they “proudly
support our local New Jersey breweries, such as” and they go on to list seven
breweries. They’re logo and support statement are half the ad, a sixth is the brewery
names and logos and a third is a list of their nine stores. Ok so this is a monthly
publication so maybe they can’t really list “sales”, but I can go to Bottle King or Gary’s
or Total Wine and I’ll bet they “support, i.e. sell” local NJ beer also.

Maybe newspaper ads aren’t the ones that really reach us. I get emails from Bottle
King and Gary’s, but I’d say they’re more focused on wine than beer. Gary’s does a
beer tasting every Thursday, but they send out the email so late I’m usually reading it
after the tasting is over. I’m not going to just go to see what they’re pouring as I may
well have had it or am not interested.

When I go beer/wine shopping I can usually find a few crafts that are on sale, but why
do I have to go to the store to find that out? That’s my time and money (in case you
haven’t noticed gas prices jumped when Houston flooded, but they don’t seem to be
dropping as fast), why do I have to come into the store to find out? Bottle King does
have a monthly book I pick up when I’m in, which again is mostly wine, but they do
feature some crafts in it.

Craft has grown tremendously. And if you include the sales from all the faux crafts
bought by the mega breweries, then it’s really grown. So isn’t in your interest to let us
know what you have and whatever you may have on special? Craft is here to stay
and even if there is a major retrenchment and we go from 5,000+ to 3,000+, it’s still
significant. Don’t you want us to come in and peruse what you have and maybe pick
up a six or four pack of something new? You really shouldn’t take us for granted as
more and more breweries are selling out of their tap rooms and we can buy direct
and leave you with your hands in your pockets instead of ours.

A little respect, that’s all we ask, just a little….

Glenn DeLuca writes about beer and culture of drinking. He may
be reached by writing

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Glenn DeLuca
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