There are a growing number of ways to get news about craft beer. There are lots of blogs out there started by craft beer fans all of varying degrees of quality. This one, in particular, veers from pretty good to straight trash at times.
However, I think that is a condition of modern reporting in general. The internet has created the ability for normal people to become their own news agencies. When it is said too many of these people don’t have journalistic training, what is meant is, too many of these people have no bullshit detectors.
One of the biggest issues I have with the coverage of most things in the news is that too many journalists crave access or have no context for what they are being told. This leads to the same problem: acting as stenographers instead of actual reporters.
I’m just going to keep this in the realm of beer, but a lot of the beer news websites and blogs I read can charitably be called aggregators. They just gather in news from other sources and pass it along. Sometimes they add their own comments and takes on articles, like this blog. Too often, however, the articles they are passing along are at best press releases.
That is why it is refreshing to find good writers who write about beer without blinders. You can read how much they love beer, but also that they aren’t blinded by that love. They see the absurdity in the fun and the business sides of beer. Here is one article in marijuana and beer and another on big beer in Texas by Jason Notte. Other writers of note for me are Tara Nurin at Forbes and Bryan D. Roth of This Is Why I Drink.
Right now, in North Carolina, the big political argument surrounding its growing craft beer scene is brewery self-distribution. There is a cap of 25000 barrels on how much breweries can distribute before they must sign with a distributor. There are at least 3 brewers in NC who are right at the limit who want to continue to self-distribute.
I have been annoyed at the coverage of this in the news. On one hand, you have writers (many of them very good writers) who write about craft beer because they love craft beer and have good relationships with the breweries and their staffs. They publish almost without question the brewer’s talking points for lifting the cap. On the other hand, you have political and business reporters who have good relationships with the distributors and their political allies (some of the most powerful politicians in the state) who repeat that sides talking points for keeping the cap. At this point, I don’t remember anyone who has questioned the bullshit rhetoric coming from both sides.
Some half-assed writer somewhere in North Carolina needs to go through all the published talking points on both sides and parse them to separate the true ones from the bullshit ones. I wonder who could do that?