Wednesday, 18 April 2012

'I don't like beer'

Sorry, that's kind of a tabloid attention grabbing headline, but I was commenting on Boak & Bailey's excellent post about bad beer not saving beer and an analogy occurred to me.

When I run introductory wine tasting courses, I start by asking people about what wines they like. I appreciate that this can be a pretty difficult situation. You're in a room full of people you've never met before, on a course you've signed up to on the basis that you want to learn about something - rather than knowing something - and you're asked to pass comment at the outset. At this point, someone usually says 'Red. I don't like white wine.' (or, of course, vice versa). I love this sort of comment, because it means that there's someone who is ready to be enthused.
Beer's problem? It all tastes the same...

I alternate weeks. Red wine one week, white wine the next, and I have never known anyone flat out refuse to drink one or the other. I've also never have anyone end the course without becoming more aware of the incredible variety of flavours that wine of whatever colour can offer. Notice the beer comparison yet?.

There's no doubting there are people out there who think that food is at its best from McDonald's, Nescafé is good coffee, Blossom Hill is a sophisticated natural product full of Californian sunshine, and all a beer needs to be is 'refreshing.' This is fine, as is the fact that most of these people aren't interested in being disavowed of these preconceptions. However, 'moving people onto beer,' from wine, spirits, WKD, (insert your own pet hate as a beer fan), isn't inherently a good thing. If they move from tasteless wine to tasteless beer that's not gaining some sort of loyalty to a sector, that's just fashion. I'm always referring to the range of flavours in beer and spirits when I'm in wine classes and tastings - once their taste buds are woken up people don't look back, and with a bit of luck they're lost to the marketing people forever.

Don't like beer? Game on, I love a challenge.

Edit: Check out this 'Case for Beer' Infographic.


  1. My favourite wine is Peach Concorde

    1. Hehe... I knew this was coming. Maybe you should educate Steve about wine. ;)

      I've just googled Peach Concorde and I still can't work out what the hell it is!

  2. I work in a retail shop as a beer manager/specialist/whatever, and I agree 100%. I've never found anyone that I couldn't find at least ONE beer that they'd respond to positively, even if that one beer is something like Lindeman's Framboise. "I don't like beer." Yeah, try me!

    1. Exactly, cheers for dropping by.

      I'm also going to guess that that one beer is rarely something nondescript either?

  3. There's certainly no point in tricking people into trying something which is *technically* but not actually beer.