Brew Biz: Werts and All

 This week’s Brew Biz will be shared with other sites: under the banner for another column I have written since 1972 called Inspection. Inspection is my personal forum for discussing societal issues. Because, though it may surprise brew lovers, there’s more to discuss here than just beer.

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.

  Today’s corporate beer adventure courtesy UPS… and also includes a commentary on the increasingly corporate culture of The United States of America.
  I used to work for a record company as a shipping and receiving manager and quality control. At the time the boxes would come in like Godzilla had kicked them around, but the contents were usually OK. My cousin, Joyce, who used to work for UPS told me the old conveyer system would to do that. While I was there our UPS man and I talked a lot. He’d fume about how anal they were: how every little thing had to be just so, despite banged up boxes. Now I believe him more than ever.
  It’s been quite a while since those days. I have used UPS, occasionally, for Christmas gifts. I do remember one year an attendant at our local UPS station insisted on tearing apart my package and repacking it because, “It just doesn’t look right.” She made more a mess of it than I did and succeeded in nothing. I could tell she was really pissed when she took it away.
  So were the multitude of customers behind me.
  “Did you use packing material?”
  “Yes.”
  I had used newspaper, she insisted on bubble wrap… “bubble wrap” I had to buy from her. I had used duct tape. She said it should be another kind of tape and “neater.”
  Yup, she did nothing to make me reconsider my box banging, anal nature, image I had been left with after all these years.
  Well, being a beer judge and a brewer I have shipped a few entries to distant competitions. I had decided never to use UPS again because they claim you can’t ship alcohol. Not quite true, as we shall see, but true enough for peons like you and me. Usually I just say they’re yeast samples and they question a little more, I hedge around the issue, then they ship it. But why bother? Just go to Federal Express: they don’t interrogate me.
  But every once in a while you run into more “anal” than not.
  Well I picked up a six of Anchor Foghorn: first time I’d seen it in Tennessee since the 80s or early 90s. Opened up one and felt like I was drinking from a green rubber hose. Opened a second and got the hose job again. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”