How to talk to your friend about drinking shitty beer

Have you noticed that a friend or family member is still drinking beers like Budweiser, Molson Canadian, Coors Light, Miller Light, or even Pabst?

It can be difficult watching someone you care about drink shitty industrial lager. You may feel torn about how to discuss foreign ownership, adjuncts, and the fact that much more interesting beer exists. But while the conversation about dad beers is never an easy one, it’s necessary.

Before talking to your friend about their shitty drinking habits, it’s important to understand that they may not realize they have a problem. Some people happily picking up a 2-4 with a NASCAR shirt in it or grabbing a “suitcase” of “crushable” cans for a trip to the cottage may deny they have a problem entirely. Regardless of your friend’s reaction, stay calm and know that you have their best interest in mind.

First and foremost, collect your thoughts and think about what you’re going to say ahead of time. A supportive message will be received better than negative, hurtful language. This is a difficult time for your friend, so your reassurance will help them realize they’re not alone. Millions of people have learned to put down the industrial lagers and drink well-made, interesting beer. Macro abuse should be discussed sooner rather than later. The earlier you have the conversation, the quicker your friend can seek treatment and start accompanying you on brew pub visits, ordering flights of small batch beer, and taking part in your bottle shares.

Tips on Talking to a Friend About Macro Abuse

Once you’re ready to talk with your friend about macro abuse, there are a few things to keep in mind. Since every situation and person is different, tailor your message to your friend’s specific circumstances.

  • Avoid talking to people while they’re drinking an industrial lager. With a Rocky Mountain Cold™ beer in his or her hand, your friend is much more likely to say things like, “Whatever, man. Let me enjoy my beer” or “Hey, this tastes good and didn’t cost me $9.”
    Wait until a time when the person is clear-headed and there are no 50 cent wings or attractive bartenders with promotional t-shirts nearby. Have your friend to your home where there are no distractions and only good beer in the fridge so you have a better chance of getting your message across.
  • Avoid lecturing. Some people assume that a direct, hard-edged confrontation is the only way they can convince a loved one to get help about their shitty beer problem. But this strategy often backfires and can quickly come off as “beersplaining.” Sermonizing about a foreign-owned conglomerate that controls one third of the world’s beer or offering a diatribe about marketing-first companies that are only interested in their bottom line is only going to make you seem like a hipster conspiracy theorist. This will only invite further resistance and denial.
    Don’t mention Carlos Brito.
    Instead, take a compassionate approach and show care and respect for the individual. Use nonjudgmental language and don’t blame or criticize. Don’t label the person a “dirtbag” or “tasteless neanderthal” or even a “skid” just because he or she drinks Labatt 50. Sure, we know that drinking cereal adjunct and corn-syrup-laden shit actually sort of does make you a filthy skid, but your friend is unlikely to respond well to such harsh criticism. State your concerns plainly and gently encourage your loved one to try something from a local independent brewery.
  • Expect the worst. Your loved one might get angry, deny that drinking the fizzy yellow water he or she calls beer is actually a problem, and might tell you to mind your own business. They may even say hurtful things like “it’s only beer,” or “you’re really pretentious with this shit, Ben.” Don’t take it personally. These are common reactions. Denial is one of the unfortunate symptoms of macro abuse. After loved ones cool down, they might take your message to heart. You may have planted the seed for recovery.
  • Offer assistance in getting help. If your friend is ready for help, be prepared to take that person to a brewery or local beer bar. The sights and sounds of a working brewery or an expansive draught lineup can be intimidating and the anxiety of choosing where to start could send him or her back to The Beer Store and the comfort of a familiar garbage beer. Accompany your friend to the good beer spots in your town. Introduce him or her to a local brewer and be prepared to walk your friend through the basics of beer appreciation–but go slow. There’s no rush to get him or her waxing poetic about head retention, lacing, and mouthfeel. Your friend will get there in time. Be supportive and resist the urge to mock if your friend says dumb things like, “Do you have any beers like Bud Light?” “Isn’t Keith’s an IPA?” or “I think I like Mill Street Organic.”

Professional Resources for More Help

Finding this website was an excellent first step to helping your friend on the road to recovery. With all manner of preachy, poorly written, and infrequently updated beer blogs available these days, it can often be tough to know where to turn to. Now that you’ve found Ben’s Beer Blog, you and your friend should immediate subscribe to the site via the widget in the left panel to assist you in the ongoing recovery process.

Additionally, there are some other helpful resources available to you.

  • Canadian Beer News A resource for all things beer in Canada, this site presents news in a non-judgmental manner, void of commentary or opinion. A collection of beer-related press releases is a great starting place for a recovering macro abuser. It might, however, be a good idea to explore this site with your friend as the focus on providing comprehensive beer news might erroneously lead your friend into thinking that drinking “sud missiles” designed for the locker room is acceptable.
  • Ontario Beverage Network  Another news aggregate site, the OBN was founded by a beer loving mom and her son Hops and is a resource for all things beer in Ontario. It also features an extremely handy map of Ontario’s craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and better beverage bars to help lead your friend on the road to recovery.
  • The Ontario Craft Beer Guide The second edition of this handy resource is a comprehensive guide to Ontario’s craft breweries and beer-makers. The sheer size of this book, reviewing and detailing over 200 breweries, might make it a little heavy for the newly recovering macro abuser but would serve well as a blunt object with which to smash a Corona out of a confused friend’s hand to get a conversation started.

19 thoughts on “How to talk to your friend about drinking shitty beer

  1. Ben – That’s a great, very funny piece. Well done.

    Here’s a slightly different topic that is crying for your attention (I imagine you have lots of personal experience in this): my wife has started telling me that I have become an “insufferable craft beer snob”, and that my snobbishness overflows, sometimes to the point where people around me are thinking, “oh for Christ’s sake shut up and have a Bud Light.” For example, if I am in a restaurant or pub, and they don’t have ANY (gasp) craft, I might say something to the wait staff such as, “you know, you guys are in the dark ages here; you won’t be in business much longer if you don’t get with it.” Like that. My wife just cringes when I get going on one of my craft diatribes. So, maybe you could offer some advice and counsel to us craft beer snobs out there, about how to deal with our snobbishness so that we don’t end up losing our friends (and possibly our spouses too).

  2. It’s a tough road to walk down, even more so the nearer and dearer they are to your heart. But what’s at the end of that bumpy ‘ol road? A sweet AF craft Brewery! Thanks for another good read, Ben.

  3. I don’t say anything. Some people just won’t change their beer choices. They do ask what I am drinking because of all the colourful cans of Ontario Craft beer I buy. Funny post Ben, but true. There has been many times I want to say something to the guy who brags about drinking 20 bottles of Coors Light. I didn’t because he was bigger than me.

  4. 1. Wings go better with shitty beer. I know it, you know.

    2. You assume those of us who drink shitty beer… oops, hang on… need another sip of my Narragansett (that’s Boston for “High Life”, btw)… ok, so you assume we do not openly identify as “dirtbags” or “Tasteless Neandertals”. We do and we are OK with those accurate terms.

    Also, there’s no “h” in Neandertal… anyone who has taken an anthro course or two knows it is said “Knee-And-Er-Tall,” not “-Thall,” so you are obviously not as pretentious as you are pretending to be.

    I’m on to you.

    3. Local beer bar? Dude. If you go to any of the local beer bars in my town, you’ll be given two choices – Budweiser or Jack Daniels.


  5. I am a sinner.
    I enjoy Budweiser, Carona, Heineken, Rolling Rock and coor.
    I also like blue moon, Molson, moosehead, Guiness, Grolsh and .

    I did not like those beers made by trappist monks or Suporo and a bunch of other kinds that I was told are good.

    My brother turned 21 when I was 13 and well, he jumped in with both feet and I was there to partake as well (don’t tell my parents).
    I’m in my 30’s now and he would always blast Bud and Carona and coors. In fact his slander of name brand beers shook me so much to my core that I tried Bud for the first time only last year when a friend paid for it at a ball game. I liked it.

    I’m all over the place with my ideas here and my beer tastes.
    So what if I like coors and sometimes cruise the beer isle based on the ones with the best names- I have my eye on one called “El Guapo”
    I guess my point is that I like what I like man.

  6. Great article, but I disagree with calling them shity beer. Industrially produced beers are very high quality beers. Because they have been have become lighter, less bitter and more flavourless over the last couple of decades means they cannot hide and faults. In fact, they have very expensive laboratories that test the product throughout the brewing process to ensure no flavour makes it into the final product. “Flavourless Macro Beer” is a much better description.

  7. Craft beer is good for local economies. Second wedge is buying mainly local hops. Many are using local honey, maple syrup. And selling those products in their brewery. They are also taking business away from the Beer Store. Although they are competing with each other they recognize they are taking a big swing at the big guy. Depending on the region many are offering tours together. Your post are spot on and a pleasure to read. Most beers I have enjoyed come from our liquor store, who are more likely to carry a wide variety of local beer. I have found craft beer at big market Beer Stores, but it’s a lot harder to find if the store isn’t self serve. You know your waiting in line they have all the promotional beer on the floor. There are 10 people behind you. Do you have Ransack? No! Do you have Cowbell? No! Do you have Twice As Mad Tom? No! How bout Sawdust anything, cause I will buy it. No. Ok i guess a 28 pack of Canadian . If they don’t change this I will buy growlers and drive to have them filled!

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