21 May 2008

Newsweek and Charlie Papazian

Newsweek has a brief interview with Charlie Papazian of the U.S. Brewers Association. A few interesting points. About labeling regulations, Papazian says:

Brewers support getting more information to consumers, but we're hoping small brewers can list nutritional values in a linear display rather than a graphic panel. To print a large panel, brewers would have to invest $15 million in new printing equipment.

As much as large corporations have a distaste for regulation, at some point regulations benefit them by creating barriers to entry to smaller competitors. I don't if the big brewers are actively working against the craft brewers in this instance, but it's always something to keep an eye on.

Of craft beer's increasing popularity, Papazian says something I completely agree with:
People recognize that there are frontiers to be explored, and there's a lot to be discovered. Part of the mystique and enjoyment is discovery, because you don't see these beers being promoted widely. Our culture is widely tuned into the element of discovering cool stuff.

I suppose "our culture" here should not refer to US culture as a whole, but to a subset of it. The "elites," perhaps. Elsewhere, Papzian mentions beer being "as sophisticated as wine," which gives me pause, but I suppose depends on the meaning of "sophisticated."

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