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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Where we stand – The Jolly Good Fellows Manifesto (Updated!)

Now that we are up and running and the JGF writing team has been mostly introduced; it is time to make a stand, to draw our proverbial line in the sand, and tell our beliefs on beer.

I personally believe there is a time and place for every beer; from the stankiest and nastiest of swills to the ambrosia of the gods. Every beer has something to tell you if you are willing understand the context it was produced and consumed. That doesn’t mean that this has to be the time or the place where its strengths or weaknesses are made clear.

That being said, Jolly Good Fellows falls pretty heavily down on the side of the craft and microbrew side of things.  Below is a simple Venn diagram that shows a visual representation of where we want to stake our claim. We realize there is a lot more diversity in the beer world but this gets the point across. (It is important to note that we have a strong favorable impression of imports also.)

We will spend a majority of our time exploring and celebrating the diversity of beer, reveling in the fact that for most of its existence beer has a heterogeneous history.  We are witnessing the rise of this again right before our very eyes in America where micro and craft brewers have placed an emphasis both on creativity and quality.

This doesn’t mean that we will ignore macrobrews though. As a post-modern beer drinker, you simply can’t.  Macrobrewing still has hegemony in the market; both in what is consumed and how beer is created. Their sheer size alone and global reach means they have incredible influence and a dominate position in price for ingredients. (This is particularly true with hops.)  

They also wield incredible political clout. They are profitable big businesses that have survived for a long time and are marketing and lobbying powerhouses. At the very minimum they must be acknowledged for setting the “standard” to improve from and for serving as the monolith that micros and crafts needed to respond to.

So don’t be surprised when on occasion we explore these monoliths and their hold on the world, looking to understand their contributions, their context in the brewing world, and how they continue to influence how beer is both produced and enjoyed.

With all that out of the way, our main purpose here is to celebrate beer in all its wonderful diversity, creativity, history, future and our enjoyment of all of it.  Thanks for reading and as always please share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. A manifesto? Really? I would say there are some basic questions that remain to be resolved before you go all Unabomber on us. As craft brewers/microbrews have gained popularity, their sales have grown and in some cases that growth is significant. Where is the line between macrobrew and microbrew? Is Sam Adams still a microbrew? Its not on the scale of Miller, but its not on the scale of Central Waters either. The brewaphilia approach would be in the middle sweet spot - where we appreciate all of the brewers.

  2. Yes, a manifesto: a public declaration of intentions, opinions, or motives.

    You do bring up an interesting point about size, which is why I lumped craft brewing in with micro. (I actually read a description of brewery which described itself as a nanobrewery)

    As regionalization continues and as these producers achieve greater market share, national reach even, definitions are going to have to change to reflect what they are. I think that is why a lot of them are now preferring the term craft brewing.

    As for appreciation, I think we do appreciate them all in some capacity, but since there will probably be more pointed commentary aimed at the large ones at present we are in the correct spot.