Brew Biz: Werts and All

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

Brew Biz is a column written by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

The Topic: Beer Priests vs. Gurus of Greed

I have never done this before: exported one of my beer columns over to my political/social commentary column that I have written since 1972: Inspection. But this topic is that important.

I am a BJCP beer judge, homebrewer and fan of fine beer; since about the same year: 72. Before that I thought all beer was Bud or Miller-like, not that there’s much of a dif between the two. One uses corn as an adjunct, one uses rice. And, in fact, in America: especially on the east coast, that’s all there mostly was… with few exceptions: Bud and Miller products. The indes, like in the auto industry before that, were dying, going or gone. And the Adirondacks, where I mostly did my drinking, were not home to oddities like Prior Double Dark or the Bock beer that did exist, un-Bock-like that most of it was.

Now, in addition to what I’ve already mentioned, I run two beer tastings in Beaver River Station, NY that involve beer education. I pay for the beer, the ads I run and until last year I didn’t even put out a donation bucket. And, to add to all this, I supply a good portion of the beer for Big Bob’s Barleywine Bash in Pensacola Beach; weekend after Labor day, every year. Again: out of pocket.

To make it worse my wife and I travel as far as Albany, NY and Charlotte, NC to judge beer in BJCP competitions.

Last year Frank, down the lake, at the Stillwater shop asked me, “Why? What’s in it for you? I try to make everything I do make money: feed back into the business.”

This year I was asked the same, basic, question by Barry who now owns the Beaver River Station Hotel: site of the Labor Day weekend beer tasting.

It dawned on me then that this meme’: that everything, every decision, anything we do in life, must make money or be advantageous to the doer, is perhaps part of the problem with attitudes these days. Just like everything must agree with a certain take on life, politics or faith, or “that means war:” sometimes literally. And I was once part of the problem when it came to having that attitude in my own chosen career.
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