This Is My Definitive and Only Post About Putting Beer in Cans

beer-can-generic-blank-aluminum can

Everyone is talking about cans. For years – really, years – writers covering the beer industry have written stories on a near monthly basis about this “hot, new trend” in craft beer: breweries putting beer into cans.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves and it shows no signs of stopping. I recognize that part of it, as Norman Miller points out, is that the very average person (Elderly? WAKA WAKA.) may still be curious about cans and not understand why companies use cans.

OK.

From my biased, curmudgeon, Old Man Yells At Cloud point of view, it’s time to move beyond stories highlighting when a brewery puts liquid into a can. This is not innovative, this is not new and after several years of this happening within the space of craft beer, it is no longer a trend. It is a norm. According to tracking by the Brewers Association, about 2 percent of craft beer volume was going into cans in 2011. It was up to 10 percent in 2014, an increase of about 2 million barrels of beer.

I don’t have specific numbers beyond that, but I imagine your anecdotal experience aligns with mine and we can safely assume the percentage is much higher halfway through 2016. According to craftcans.com, 550 different breweries can 2,162 beers today.

Putting craft beer into a can is no longer a news story. It’s a press release.

So what the hell is there to actually write about cans? Beats the hell out of me, but guess I’ll try.

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A Return to ‘The Pleasant Distraction’

There are always other things to do.

We have jobs and friends and responsibilities of life. But even then, there is always something else pulling us toward the multitudes of interests and passions we hold close. How we divide our time, through internal formulas working to extrapolate wants and needs, equates to each of our unique personalities.

If we pursue our goals both professional and personal, then the sum of our efforts shape who we are.

Most days, I seek to balance these fractions of my life with the help of this blog, which has become part of a weekly ritual. I may not be able to write every day, but through research, and more important, conversations, I’m able to further ferment my passion for beer, its industry and its culture.

That is to say, you’re as much to thank for pushing me as my internal drive. It’s why as I celebrated an award for my work this weekend, I have nothing but appreciation for the people I’ve met along the way and the things (I hope) we learn together.

On Saturday, the North American Guild of Beer Writers announced I had finished first in the category of “Best Beer Blog” at its annual awards ceremony. I’m thrilled to share this recognition with Oliver Gray, finishing second for Literature and Libation, and Jeff Alworth, placing third for his contributions at All About Beer. The work of both these men educate and inspire me and I’m so happy to be included with them for the same award.

But most of all, I’m excited to share this award with you. Whether you’re an everyday reader sorting through the archives, a commenter who has shared in conversation or simply stopping by for the first time, I’ve been lucky to find my voice and learn new things because of interactions with people like you.

There will always be something else trying to gain my attention – often deservedly so – but I love using this space as a way to grow with you through a greater appreciation for all things beer.

So as I revel in an awfully exciting moment for me, I want you to know, Dear Reader, that I’m forever appreciative of how you influence me. I strive to think creatively and provide my love of beer in a unique way, and it means so much that I get to share that with you.

There are lots of shiny objects floating around all of us, reflecting constant reminders of where we should focus our attention. Thanks for letting me distract you.

This is an updated repost of last year’s announcement. The year may have changed, but my feelings about receiving this recognition has not. I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for those that read my blog, the friends I’ve made because of it and the opportunities it’s presented me. I am humbled and grateful.

Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

The Not-So-Secret Secret of Beer Blogging: You Matter. No Matter What.

shovelThere’s a moment in the movie Caddyshack I can’t shake from my mind.

Danny Noonan, one of the film’s main characters, is trying to butter up antagonist and avid golfer Judge Elihu Smails in order to get an advantage for a college scholarship from the movie’s fictional country club. Danny can’t afford to go to college.

“Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too,” says the judge, playing up his well to-do lifestyle and feeling of superiority.

It’s a blow for Danny, but a salient point. The world does need ditch diggers, but the comment’s comedic purposes override the need to analyze it within context of the movie. What we’re expected to take away is that digging ditches is low, miserable work that should be avoided.

But what if it’s not so bad? What if there’s more to digging ditches than getting your hands dirty?

session_logo_all_text_300As basic as this task may seem, there should most certainly be an amount of pride – like any job – in wielding knowledge and skill beyond another person. Knowing the perfect depth with which to plunge a shovel into the earth and visualizing the right angle to make the task easier are skills, even if those abilities seem like low, miserable work.

Most of all, what are we to make of someone who enjoys digging ditches? Heaven forbid, according to Judge Smails.

In a very roundabout way, this has stuck in my head all week as I considered joining this month’s Session, a regular effort by beer bloggers around the world to collectively share thoughts on a single topic. Presented by the writer known simply as “DING,” this month’s prompt asks us to consider our place in the beer industry:

Are you simply a cog in the commercial machine if you work for a brewery, store or distributor? Are you nothing more than an interested consumer? Are you JUST a consumer? Are you a beer evangelist? Are you a wannabe, beer ‘professional’? Are you a beer writer? All of the above? Some of the above? None of the above? Where do you fit, and how do you see your own role in the beer landscape?

The more I thought about it, the more I considered these questions in other terms: Why do we write? What do we want out of writing?

Or rather, if we write, must we be above “ditch digging?” Is there a standard we must set for ourselves and others and cast out those who don’t meet those expectations?

I kept coming back to the same answer: who cares?

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It’s My Relationship and I Can Cry if I Want To

broken heart stalker
I think about you all the time.

I can’t shake it from my head … I wonder about who you’re with, what you’re wearing. I can picture you in that flashy, new negligee I bought you. You haven’t seen it yet, but it’s sitting safely in a cupboard at home.

I’ve got a spot for you right next to it.

It’s not like I’m utterly consumed by you. It’s kind of the other way around. HA. It’s more like I enjoy “intense research.” You know what I mean? Of course you do. You understand me so well, sometimes I like to think you were made just for me.

It’s probably true, you know. We share so many friends. They talk about you almost as much as I do. But I don’t know if they’re as committed to you as I am. For others, you’re du jour, a fad. They’ll pay attention to you for a while, but I know that what we have will last FOREVER.

I get emails about you every day. Well, they’re email alerts, but it still makes me feel like we’re close. I love it when they ping my inbox overnight. I get so excited to see them – and read about you – when I first wake up. But you can’t actually email me, can you? Gosh, that would be so GREAT. It makes me jealous that so many other people get to spend so much more time with you than I do.

Have you seen any of my recent posts? They’re all about you. I think they can be kind of wordy and nerdy, but to you, they probably read like poetry. Sometimes I blush at how rhythmic it all feels, thoughts and words flowing in waves from my brain to my fingertips to a keyboard. You’re the perfect muse – inspiring me as I type away. I could STARE AT YOU FOR HOURS.

I love talking about you, even though sometimes you can be ice cold.

I love reading about you, even though people all over enjoy your company without me.

But most of all, I love writing about you, even though you never comment on my posts.

I love you, beer, but sometimes this whole blogging thing makes me feel a little too OBSESSED.

unpaid investigatorThis (intentionally over-the-top) post is part of multiple essays from Mid-Atlantic beer bloggers focusing on how we feel blogging has impacted our relationship with beer. Make sure to check out these posts, too:

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

header image edited via deviantart.com

Why I Don’t Worry About (Beer) Journalism

old-time-reporter

I used to be a servant to deadlines – my ball and chain the ink-stained notepads and pens scattered across my desk. My boss? An editor who would take my writing and will it into submission.

My work days were long and relentless. I often rose before the sun peeked over the horizon and returned home well after it – and all the people it touched – snuck away into the darkness of night. I ate, but sparsely. Ill-prepared meals would be frantically eaten on the fly, either as I was walking to or away from my work area.

It was thrilling. I was a journalist.

pen-paper

Tools of the trade.

In another life, this was the norm. I had voluntarily sought out this daily grind. Like all the others scattered across the newsroom, I was made bold by the masochistic behaviors of my professional lifestyle. We answered to one master – Deadline – and prayed for forgiveness at the alter of AP Style.

For a long time, this was how I made a living, but it’s a life I left behind six years ago. Now I serve from 9 to 5. I can eat whatever I like, when and where I please. I no longer focus my conversations on my ability to write five more inches of copy.

Which is why I was particularly struck by my assignment for last week’s Session post, doled out by Heather Vandenengel of Beer Hobo. Based on the topic of beer journalism, Oliver Gray and I offered a pair of corresponding humorous posts on the triumphant birth and quick death of modern beer journalism.

But we can’t just leave it there, especially with a topic so near and dear to my ink-filled heart.
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Your Mother Would Think I’m a Very Nice Young Man: Meet the Guy Behind ‘This is Why I’m Drunk’

I was recently lucky enough to chat with Josh from Short on Beer for his ongoing “Conversations with Beer Bloggers” video series. Josh is a Friend of the Program and was flattering in his ability to politely nod as I rambled on and on about beer for almost 30 minutes.

Thankfully, Josh was able to cut down our discussion (and somehow edited out the foam emitting from my over-excited mouth) into a short video which he’s posted online. I thought this would be a great opportunity for you to see the man behind the blog, even if I actually look a boyish 16. (I’m not 16)

Check out our conversation and head over to Short on Beer to also meet Carla, The Beer Babe, and Friend of the Program, Ryan, from Mould’s Beer Blog.