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A Place For Beer at The Times?


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4 replies to this topic

#1 Rich Pawlak

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 04:45 PM

I very much enjoy the wine tasting columns in the Times every week, and the occasional tastings of beer. I know you'll enjoy your time with Lew Bryson on your tasting panel this week; he is one of the most compelling writers of food and beverage around. But, as my sig line would suggest, I have a vested interest in this question. Is there a place for dedicated beer writing at the Times? I don't want to bore you and build a case for the growing sophistication and considerable artistry of craft beer these days, but if anyone could do the brew justice, it would be the Times.

Rich Pawlak

 

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#2 Eric Asimov

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 08:39 PM

Rich,

I'm not sure if it's time yet for a column dedicated to beer. I do feel it's an important part of my own job. I've tried to make sure beer gets a regular spot in the rotation with our panel reviews, and over time we'll see. I do knew that each time we do a beer panel it gets a tremendous response, so you may be on to something. I love beer, by the way. The first piece I ever wrote for the old Living section, back in 1986, was about beer, in fact.

I will say, as I've written in the past, that the beer industry is its own biggest enemy -- the big companies at least -- and the craft brewers have a tough fight to overcome years of wounding advertising.

#3 Bux

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 11:57 PM

In another thread in this Q&A, you spoke of "the increased use of "Yellow Tail'' -style merchandising in an effort to make foreign wines more accessible to Americans." You went on to say "the cost is mass-produced wines that make a virtue of innocuousness." Do you see a parallel here to the way beer has been merchandised?
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#4 Eric Asimov

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 03:45 PM

Bux,

How couldn't you? When the brand name becomes all you know about a wine or a beer, when its entire connotation is in terms of status, sexuality, friendship or whatever, then you're dealing with a product that is quite different from what it was originally intended to be.

I don't mean to dump on Yellow Tail, or Budweiser, for that matter. They've raised the level of the cheapest wine. But for a wine lover, it's just not interesting stuff. Budweiser-Coors-Miller, etc. too. Paranthetically, a micro brewer once told me that he was in awe of Budweiser. Apparently making beer on such a large scale, and having it come out so consistently the same, is an amazing brewing achievment. Thank god for beer lovers and yuppies who fostered the craftbrewing movement.

#5 Rich Pawlak

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 09:16 AM

And, to me, the only way to even make a dent in the ubiquitous marketing blather of the mass brewers is to devote regular space to the discussion of the world of beer. I can't imagine a more appropriate and influential launching pad for that kind of regular discussion than the Times. Don't you think it's worth a trial baloon, given the huge response you get when you give beer that exposure?

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"