A bit of back-and-forth between HardknottDave and Tandleman has again got me thinking about blogging about bad beer and bad drinking experiences.
On one hand you can argue that the blogger should use their writing to reflect the state of the beer landscape in which they drink; it’s not all good beer out there and it’s misleading to suggest otherwise. Putting questions about the influence that bloggers even have to one side, you could argue that pubs and beer won’t improve unless the landlord or brewer is told where they’re going wrong. If you mislead a new drinker into a bad pub and they walk out thinking that that’s as good as it gets, how many come back for a second pint?
The converse argument is that you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar. If you spend your time telling people about all the bad beer you drink then your message becomes wrapped in negativity. Tweet about the three bad beers you drank whilst enjoying the three great ones silently and give the new drinker no reason to ask for beer.
For me it’s important to remember that judgement shouldn’t be cast quickly. One bad pint doesn’t make a bad pub; one bad batch doesn’t make a bad brewer. The things I tweet and the things I blog are almost always opinion based; opinion does not equal fact. Humility is important, especially when your opinion isn’t a positive one, and when you’re opinion is potentially damaging to a brewer or publican’s brand it’s important to consider how you share it.
It’s a balancing act for sure, a balancing act that I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t mastered. I want to champion beer as a great drink because I know how great it is. I want to focus on the good stuff and get other people interested in beer by sharing that with them, but I also think it’s important to be honest and for a drinker to know when something isn’t as it should be.
Personally I think it’s more effective to focus on the positive. I’m more likely to persuade people to drink beer that I describe as good than beer I complain about being bad. Generally people are pretty smart; a set of posts about great beer doesn’t necessarily mean a leap to the conclusion that bad beer is nonexistent.
What do you think?
I wrestled with whether or not to post this entry. It feels, to a certain extent, like I'm crashing someone elses argument and I'm not really keen on blogging about blogging. This is something that came up at the European Beer Bloggers Conference though, and it's something that I think is important. If the influence of the beer blogger continues to grow, so will the relevance on this issue.
Image from here.