The craft beer industry is a gold rush.
Or at least, that’s the way it surely looks to an outsider looking in.
In the past dozen years or so, as news coverage of craft brewery openings has leaked into even the shittiest newspapers in Ontario, and as local IPAs have sneaked their way onto menus among the jalapeño poppers and zesty chicken zingers of even our lamest franchise restaurants, there has surely been no shortage of opportunist who has seen the growth and noted, “Hmm, this craft beer thing is really taking off.”
The result is that there has been all manner of “unique and interesting” craft-beer-adjacent businesses that have sprung up as these opportunists channel their inner Bill Paxtons and Helen Hunts to chase the mythical tornadoes of cash they think are swirling around craft beer.
And so the beer industry has become a charlatans’ playground with all manner of snake oil salesman and huckster trying to make a quick buck. There are shady beer delivery services, over-priced beer tours, passports that apparently you must have in order to learn how to walk to various bars and pour liquid into your mouth; even, memorably, that guy who wanted to sell UV protected shaker pint glasses so that your beer wouldn’t get skunky during the precious minutes it spent in the sun on the patio.
But even with all these greasy characters lurking around your local tap room talking about their gofundme pages, to my mind there is little competition for the title of Greasiest; because that honour easily goes to organizers of craft beer festivals. In my near decade of experience as a semi-professional drinks writer, I can confirm that I’ve seen no subsection of craft beer that is more prone to fuckery than the part of the business that revolves around the organization and execution of festivals. Continue reading “Beer festivals, siphoning gas, and pizza the size of bagels”