#IPADay: When Big Beer Takes Your Holidays, Make Your Own
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that when I whip out a lengthy text post, it’s because something is bothering me (see here or here). Today’s post is no different and was inspired by lots of misguided cynicism on twitter surrounding #IPADay.
I designed the logo, so it’s easy to think that I’m biased. I can guarantee that this would be my opinion regardless, though with potentially less strength on my radar.
The buzz around #IPADay reached a fever pitch yesterday, and while most tweeters were being good sports, reminiscing about their first IPA, sharing recipes, etc., every holiday must have its Scrooge, and the Bah-Humbug tweets have REALLY started to wear on me. The worst part? They’re coming from craft beer drinkers, industry members, and bloggers remarking that #IPADay and all holidays like it are “for the record, stupid.”
Really? Because this is what I think is stupid. What’s stupid is the fact that big beer (ABInBev & MillerCoors) has branded our actual national holidays and events. They’ve projected their own ideas about what these events and holidays should be about, what our values should be, what these holidays should look like, and how we should feel when we celebrate. It’d be nice if the Superbowl was about football, but it’s not, it’s an arms race for the best beer marketing. When I went to a bar last week to watch the Opening Ceremony, a scantily clad Coors girl handed me a beer coozie. Gee, thanks. And despite the fact that most Olympic athletes aren’t pounding light beers (if they’re even old enough to drink them!), you can’t watch event without seeing a Budweiser spot.
My point here being that craft beer is not in a position to use such exorbitant marketing ploys, and they shouldn’t. The second New Belgium sends out bikini’d babes with beer coozies, it’s game-over—they’ve lost all integrity. Instead it’s our job, the craft beer drinkers, the 15% of the market, to take advocacy and awareness into our own hands. Hence, #IPADay.
A few tweeters have taken the argument further than “this is stupid.” They claim that #IPADay is actually a hinderance for craft beer awareness, because the style can be “intimidating.” Some have suggested renaming the day to “Craft Beer Day.” Some argue that #IPADay as a hashtag looks like it’s about iPads and not about beer at all.
I guess we all forgot how twitter works. In the case of #IPADay or any social media campaign, the hashtag itself is inconsequential. The point is to pick one and unflinchingly stick with it, relentlessly use it, and get it trending. I can’t even tally how many times I’ve seen a trending topic, was unsure of the context, and clicked on it out of curiosity. 9/10 times it is related to Justin Bieber or One Direction, but that’s besides the point. A vague or unclear hashtag can actually serve the campaign if it incites enough intrigue for the user to click and learn more.
As far as choosing IPA as opposed to any other beer style, I think it’s a fine choice. We love them and want to celebrate them. They’re a popular style, most breweries have an IPA or some derivative, and in many cases IPAs are a flagship offering. When we debate over the style, we’re missing the entire point—to be unified as a craft beer community and encourage its growth. Have a stout today, hell, have a milkshake today, I don’t care. Just relax, use the hashtag, and spread good beer.
For more info and some awesome IPA recipes, visit IPADay.org
Any time any one complains about a reason to drink great craft beer, that person gets a free punch in the dick.