Nearly everywhere I look I see advocates of good beer talking about “converting” non-beer drinkers… from other blogs, to nationally recognised beer campaigns, to the drinks menus in Brewdog bars that suggest what beer to drink instead of their wines & spirits.
Conversion in this sense is an evil word as it’s all about changing people’s ideas and perceptions, much like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who knock on your door while you’re kicking back eating a fry-up on a Saturday morning… people telling you that everything you know is wrong and that you’re somewhat inferior if you don’t believe.
That’s what “Conversion” sounds like to me. It doesn’t sound like a gentle nudge saying “hey, why not try this beer? You might like it”, conversion sounds like you’re judgementally forcing someone to do something because it’s what you like and believe in even if they are quite happy doing what they enjoy.
“Conversion” doesn’t convey a welcoming sense of community, in fact it does quite the opposite. “Conversion” suggests that all of us beer drinkers are in our own little clique and that outsiders have to pass some kind of initiation in order to join us.
“Conversion” isn’t a friendly word, it’s alienating people who could potentially become fans of good beer if it wasn't for the pressure.
This isn’t to say that more people shouldn’t drink good beer, it’s saying “hey, would you like to try my beer” instead of rocking up at someone’s house when they’ve invited you and hijacking it with beer talk. It’s not forcing people to listen to “why they should drink beer” because to be perfectly honest nobody “should” do anything just because you want them to.
By all means recommend, but if they resist just leave it at that. It’s only a drink sothere shouldn't be any "conversion" process involved.