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.