In Defense of American Craft Beer Producers: An Open Letter to Joe Queenan and the Wall Street Journal

Categories: Booze, Brew Blog

Bud-Light.jpg
Mr. Queenan's American heroes drink foreign-owned beer like Bud Light.
An open letter to Joe Queenan, in response to his article on craft beer in the Wall Street Journal on November 9:

Dear Mr. Queenan,

I read your recent article in the Wall Street Journal outlining your personal distaste and seeming confusion regarding the proliferation in popularity of American craft beer and found large portions of your piece troubling. As a whole, it left me at a loss as to what your actual point might be. While I would normally hash my quibbles out with you over beers, your stance as a teetotaler doesn't allow, so please find my response below.

I can ignore your near-perfect Andy Rooney impersonation, complete with haphazard babbling about a subject you admittedly and very demonstrably know nothing about. And because it is my sneaking suspicion that you probably posit all your arguments in this way -- wandering, slobbering abortions of reason, as to make them less refutable -- I won't begin to delve into the article's bizarre lack of purpose.

Your attempt at painting craft beer as elitist and overly intellectual (namely the parts where you seemingly tossed out the fanciest-sounding beers you found when Googling "craft beer") was so transparent that -- while supremely insulting -- I hardly feel it's worth addressing.

Hell, I'll even let slide your laughable attempts at mimicking barroom football discussion. I suspect that the last time you actually saw the Cowboys play, Roger Staubach was probably at the helm. Somehow I doubt you were at the center of conversation back then either, which is a position you seem to desperately crave.

Instead, what I will address is this: Your implication that the American craft beer industry is a fad, some passing fancy of snobs and hipsters set on trampling your lawn like so many young ruffians is incredibly naive. The statement that our heroes, the veterans and patriots of America, certainly drink only simple macro lagers owned by foreign interests, is vastly irresponsible.

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Businesses like the Sierra Nevada Brewery provide thousands of Americans with jobs in uncertain times.
The American craft beer industry is at the culmination of a long and difficult resurrection after being nearly destroyed by one of the greatest mistakes in our country's history: Prohibition.

With over 2,000 breweries and brewpubs nationwide, American-brewed beer is at its largest point since the 19th century. The amount of American breweries is finally back to the kind of numbers last seen in 1887. The road this industry has traveled is long and arduous, stretching back some 300 years to our nation's earliest foundations and beyond. Its sudden appearance on your narrow, dimly lit radar belies its true age and rightful place in our history.

For you to casually dismiss the 100,000 men and women employed directly by the craft beer industry as bandwagoneers is an insult to one of America's last true homegrown industries. At a time when it seems that anyone can be outsourced, craft beer provides this country and the entire world with a product and a vision that is supremely and uniquely American.

Somehow I doubt you'd be so quick to dismiss the American automotive industry with such fervor, shunning the resurgence of Ford for your heroes who drive foreign-owned vehicles.


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30 comments
Wrff
Wrff

I wasn't big into craft beer, but now I think I'll drink it just to spite that douche.

epikwhite
epikwhite

@JoshuaAJustice A tweet from Papazian is pretty awesome. Also, what's with this handle? Is @CynicalHouston dead?

EatingOurWords
EatingOurWords

@storminspank Thanks! That was Mr. @CynicalHouston's work. Glad you liked it.

GFLisa
GFLisa

Bravo and well said!  One look at his picture, and you can see that he is way outside of the target for craft, but with a platform like WSJ, he should be careful not to offend one of the few industries that were thriving while the rest of the economy was in the tank.  I bet he didn't even realize that his friend was drinking foreign-owned beer.....Cheers!

QueerRant
QueerRant

Queer is queer , end of story.

 

Chicken soup recipe is still a chicken soup recipe.

 

And DUI related deaths are still murder.

 

stayhoppyaustin
stayhoppyaustin

@FoodDrinkLove @LeftHandSouth Thanks for sharing Mariam!

beerhere2010
beerhere2010

In Defense of a Satirst

 

"...an outcast at life's rich fest"

 

Queenan's own words pretty much sums up the lot in life for teetotalers and 'factory' beer drinkers alike.  But in all fairness to Qeenan, his piece IS satire, not snark; IMHO.  

 

Queenan's offers (almost) FULL full disclosure:  "It doesn't help that I don't drink. I used to drink a long time ago, but back then we didn't talk about beer. We merely drank it...Beer was simply an ingenious device one used to get hammered."  

 

The 'rest of the story

 

[though not suitable for a 'True Value' spot but which IS featured in a recently published memoir 'Closing Time' an account of his abusive Irish-American alcoholic father and his bleak working-class upbringing in the East Falls section of Philly  http://hops.me/5gmt

 

is that he is [originally] working class Irish, & grew up in a household where alcohol/beer was abused, along w/momma AND the kids so...there's that. And, perhaps, that's where he found himself 'going' when he grew up and started drinking, before he quit altogether.   (eg 'teetotalling' = a 'god' thing for him/family/society in general and...MORE #beer for us!)

 

Given that, I think readers of THIS column should at least read the article (JJ,  why no hyperlink?) before passing judgment/agreeing w/JJ's (over)reaction:    http://hops.me/5gms

 

I'm as 'sensitive' as the next #craftbeer championing guy/gal BUT this was intended to be self-reflective satire...IMHO.

 

Na zravi!

sollerja
sollerja

I read the WSJ article as tongue-in-cheek and amusing.  Not sure what article Mr. Justice read.

austinlouisray
austinlouisray

@drzachary What in the world is a "city wine"? #BeerdLolzzzz

austinlouisray
austinlouisray

@CurtDawsey @drzachary And like you said, I'd be comedically insulted, if that were the case.

austinlouisray
austinlouisray

@CurtDawsey @drzachary That's an all-too-typical defense in these cases. "But I was just kidding!" No you weren't...

trivtrav
trivtrav

Well said.  Glad someone spoke out against this moron.

austinlouisray
austinlouisray

@drzachary While I agree it was fairly pointless, I don't know if I'd go THAT far.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

Lots of guys from Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks used to come into the liquor store where I worked, both to buy beer brewing supplies and stock up on craft brews. Some of them even bought FANCY WINE to DRINK THEMSELVES. [gasp]

Kilgore
Kilgore

A dude who doesn't drink, writing about drinking. Perhaps the WSJ could employ me at a hefty salary to write extensively about architecture. I have no education nor any particular interest in the subject, but I sure know an ugly building when I see one.

craftbeercoach
craftbeercoach

Wow! Well stated! Sweet piece of writing. Glad to be doing my part for the craft beer cause.

TedStickles
TedStickles

Dude. Great article, phenomenal writing. F yea.

BlueJeanGourmet
BlueJeanGourmet

@CynicalHouston you used the phrase "take umbrage!". English teacher swoon.

sauqkgy
sauqkgy

Thanks for the local angle, which one my biggest reason for drinking these awesome brews. I want my beer to travel the smallest amount from the brewery to my fridge or being able to ride my bike to the place of creation. And thanks for pointing out maybe the last great American Industry that show true american soul, creativeness, community support and poof we can still make great things.

P.S. the WSJ is just some corp. right wing hack paper anyways

CynicalHouston
CynicalHouston

@sjalexander @JenXer @beernerds I have one speed. And that speed is "Hey! Fuck You!"

ithinkaboutbeer
ithinkaboutbeer

Well written!  I read the original article and was blown away by what a waste of printed space it was.  Well done.

Nate
Nate

Awww, did someone get their beer snob feelings hurt? Poor baby!

kshilcutt
kshilcutt

@JenXer @beernerds @CynicalHouston @WSJ I will never tire of the Orson Welles clapping GIF.

CynicalHouston
CynicalHouston

@epikwhite alive & kicking. Just splitting off personal account for professional reasons. This may become a group account at some point.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

 @beerhere2010 The link to Mr. Queenan's original article is in the very first sentence of this post, and has been since it went up this morning.

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