As a homebrewer, football watcher and chicken enthusiast, I was disheartened to see the commercial put out by Buffalo Wild Wings which slams those of us who homebrew. In it, the mad scientist type brewer is hosting two friends to drink his beer and watch the game. His home is a filthy pseudo-lab with fermenters bubbling over while his friends are offered disgusting looking glasses full of undrinkable liquids, one full of mini sausages, the other a “surprise.”
While I will readily admit that there are many homebrewers among us who are guilty of some bad behavior in our own production, this is certainly not the norm. And, while some of us can certainly be described as kooky, I can’t think of any of us who are so oblivious to assume our non-brewer friends would be comfortable with trying something as our most bizarre experimentation on the first visit.
Certainly, I’m realistic when people come over. Having only two taps available, I often prepare myself for the fact that my guest may not care for either of those options. Frankly, even varying degrees of hoppiness can turn me off depending on the beer. Some people have only ever had commercial style lagers in their lives, and homebrew can be jarring. And while I’m pleased that someone likes my homebrew when given the opportunity to sample, I certainly don’t expect everyone to love it.
What’s insulting, beyond the initial nonsense depicted in the commercial, is that homebrewers are somehow removed from the normal beer consuming public. As if we only drink what we brew and have no interest in anything else. I’ve heard this from other people, even professional brewers, that homebrewers aren’t interested in craft beer. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It would be like saying, home cooks only cook at home and don’t go to restaurants or festivals or farmer’s markets to get inspiration. It’s unrealistic and unfair, not to mention simply untrue. Going to a brewery and sampling what they’ve got on tap gets me thinking about what kinds of beer I’d like to make. Even if you don’t go and get a tour of the brewery or bother the head brewer with a million questions, it’s still important to support craft beer, because a lot of the folks who do it, began as humble homebrewers.
Which brings me back to the confusing and insulting Buffalo Wild Wings commercial. I feel like leaving homebrewers out in the cold by insulting them is turning away people who you would not normally recognize because they’re already among your customers. They’re the kind of people who want you to have yummy craft beer options to pair with your various sauce options. And, if you need any proof as to whether or not we’re worth pursuing, check on the growth numbers for both home and craft brewing. I think you’ll be surprised, or at least feeling like you’ve got some strange bratwurst beer foam on your face.