Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Craft Beer is a Cult

Cult

noun

"a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society"

I'm fascinated with cults. From Heaven's Gate to Scientology to the one I've been a part of for many years, craft beer.

I criticised those who froth from the mouth over special releases in my last post, knowing full well it was hypocritical because I've been like that.

I've been a part of a cult.

What I've learnt from cults from books and documentaries is this:
  • You devote the vast majority of time to them
  • You spend a fuck load of money getting involved in them
  • You feel pressured into constantly taking part, and not defecting to something other followers are taught to believe are inferior
  • You preach about them to pretty much everyone you meet, regardless of whether they care, almost trying to recruit them
It all works on levels, and you have to pass each one to be worthy:

Pub > Local CAMRA Festival > Out of Town Beer Day Trips > A Craft Festival in London/Manchester > A foreign craft beer holiday > Copenhagen Beer Celebration

Crap Lager > Brown Bitter > More Exciting Cask Beer > Bottled Local Beer > National Beer > International Beer > The latest special release in the UK > That almost inaccessible mythical Whale that everyone across the world wants.

Does that sound familiar? Well that's craft beer.

You can probably argue against it, as people in cults frequently do... "It's not a cult, it's a collective" and you'd be wrong.

Marketing and advertising isn't a thing in the craft beer cult. Marketing and advertising is a thing that the big players still do, because the real people who influence what you drink are the beer communicators or the cult leaders.

I've followed it. I've been in the craft beer cult. Hell, I've been a voice in the craft beer cult. I got out because it's not healthy because it's an obsession to always get to the next level of craft.

I've thought about this long and hard and I just wonder why everyone is obsessed with moving up the ladder of craftiness. I wonder why I ever was.

Much like other cults where you're pressured into spending more money on programs and the greater good in order to get to the next level, in craft beer there is peer pressure to get the latest release or go to the cool craft beer festivals.

Sure you can tell me "But Nate I really want to go to these festivals and drink these beers" and sure, you probably do, like other cult followers want to get to the next level but people are telling you that you should go there and drink this, and if nobody, none of your friends were going you wouldn't.

There's an order, and most naturally follow it. I've followed it for the most part. You've been influenced and pressured into thinking you need to be a part of it. You're no longer happy unless it's sought after. Unless it's popular.

Nate.