Five Beer Stereotypes That I Wish Would Disappear

I recently wrote about how my uneasiness with Renaissance Faire play-actors has kept me from trying mead, a form of honey wine that’s been around for thousands of years.  Every time I see it on the shelf, my thoughts immediate go to men and women dressed up in medieval garb, putting on thick accents and having fantasy playtime right there for everyone to see.  It embarrasses to even think about it and the association has kept me away from mead.  The last time I pretended to be anybody it was Han Solo and I was nine.

This got me to thinking of stereotypes about beer that keep people from exploring the wonders of the world’s greatest beverage.  While not as cringe-inducing as theater majors and World of Warcraft nerds prancing about saying “m’lord” and “m’lady,” they can certainly be considered barriers to entry into the world of craft beer:

Frat Fuel – Some people never think past college when it comes to beer. Mention the stuff, and images of funnels, keg stands and Edward Fortyhands fills their minds. While they might look back on these times fondly, it’s probably not an association that’s going to make them want to stop at their bottle shop and explore the refined offerings from Belgium.  After all, it’s wasteful to pay so much just to fill your beer pong cups!

Fizzy Yellow Stuff – Lets face it, over 90% of the beer sold today are industrial lagers; Bud, Miller, Coors, Keystone and all their watery cousins. When you say “beer” to most folks, this is what they think you’re talking about. When you try to explain that there’s a whole world of “real” craft beer out there, they probably equate what you’re saying to waxing poetic about Chicken Selects at McDonald’s – you don’t understand, they’re waaay better than McNuggets because they’re made with REAL chicken!

PBR Hipsters – Many people find hipsters repellent, this has been proven by Science. Traps have even been set for them in hipster-infested neighborhoods as part of a catch-and-relocate program.  The fact that Pabst Blue Ribbon is (or was – to be honest, I try not to keep up with their trends) their beverage of choice is an association that does little to benefit beer’s image. These boys and girls are deeply into irony, picking things that have a little retro charm and an undertone of trashiness to them (think tight-fitting, distressed vintage flannel purchased at a second-hand store).  Ironic garbage isn’t what I want people thinking about when someone mentions beer.  I wish these too-cool-for-the-room types would go all the way and drink Zima instead – how ironic is that stuff? Get on it, hipsters!

NASCAR Nation – I have to walk a bit of a tightrope here, as I don’t want to come off like a beer snob (too much, at least), but when you talk about beer, some people think of a guy with a Bud Light box for a hat, screaming for Jimmy Johnson while dancing shirtless in the Talladega sun.  You can see I have proof of this.  It’s this guy and other beer guzzling, brush cut meatheads like him that make some people believe beer should only be served at Hooters, and not at fine dining establishments.

For the Boys – This one really bugs me, the idea that beer isn’t for women.  There are a couple of parts to this – the idea that a “real lady” drinks wine, not beer (which is too uncouth for the fairer sex), and all the “beer babe” B.S. that has been used to sell fizzy yellow crap for decades.  Beer, boobs and ‘splosions – f’yeah!!  The misogynist marketing of beer has made it rightfully repellent to some ladies, and that’s too bad, as I know many women who are dedicated beer geeks. I just think there might be more if it weren’t for Budweiser swimsuit models and those hot chicks from Miller wrestling in wet concrete.  Ooh…those hot chicks from Miller…

All told, I’m all for people drinking whatever kinds of beverages they like, and doing so in the manner they see fit.  It’s a free country and we’re all adults here.

But as someone who loves craft beer and wants the whole world to discover its wonders and delights, I see stuff like this standing in the way.  If every time you think of beer, you think of something repellent associated with it, chances are you’re going to switch the subject in your brain to something that doesn’t have the mental baggage.

What do you think – Am I on to something here, or am I just stuck up about beer?  Of course it could be both… 🙂

Are there other associations about beer that you’d like to see disappear?

As always, let us know below!

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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59 Comments on “Five Beer Stereotypes That I Wish Would Disappear”

  1. Drewcifer
    August 23, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    I don’t think these are major barriers in to the world of craft beer. Frankly, these would be more likely to push someone towards drinking craft beer.

    I am of the opinion that us craft brew lovers often get in our own way when trying to bring people to craft beers. All to often, the beers we hold up on pedestals are not good beers to use as introductory brews. Telling someone that an uber-hopped I.P.A. is the best beer around and then giving it to them to taste, if they don’t like it, they’ll expect that since we call it the “best,” they won’t like any “lesser” brews. We are often too snobbish, turning up our noses at decent, larger breweries that still produce quality beer. We rail against he wine-enthusiasts and how they are judgmental, yet turn around and do the same. Frankly, when you get a couple thousand of us together at a festival, stupidity tends to break out and make us look like bad stereotypes.

    My two cents, anyways. Time for a Red Dog (go on and hate).

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      Ha ha – that’s a great insight. I should have put that on the list. A good idea for a future post, perhaps.

      Enjoy that Red Dog – I didn’t know they still made it.

      • August 23, 2012 at 8:13 am #

        Maybe craft beer stereotypes could be a future topic of discussion. I’ve often considered making a Bingo board with such things to take to a beer tasting or festival.

        • August 23, 2012 at 8:19 am #

          It’s make a heckuva drinking game. Someone said mouthfeel – drink!!

        • king
          August 23, 2012 at 9:31 am #

          Would the “Beer and Whiskey Bros.” box be “lose a turn”?

        • August 23, 2012 at 11:52 am #

          Naw – it doesn’t even belong in the game. Who the hell is gonna mention us anywhere, ever?!

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:46 am #

      Well Said, Drewcifer.

    • August 23, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      Your comment almost sounds like my rant on the “Are pricey beers…” post a couple of weeks ago. The beer snob stereotype should definitely be added to the list. I agree that a big hindrance to getting more people to drink craft beer has been a negative experience from a snob pushing anything and everything under the sun on a newbie.

      • August 23, 2012 at 11:42 am #

        I think it’s a great topic, but it occurs to me that if you know beer snobs exist, then you know good beer does as well.

  2. August 23, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    I wish the whole drinking-beer-at-work stigma would go away. So annoying.

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:02 am #

      Especially for school bus driver.s All those noisy kids will put your nerves on edge, y’know?!

      • August 23, 2012 at 8:05 am #

        Don’t even get me started!

      • August 23, 2012 at 8:14 am #

        Meh, they prefer meth and cocaine. Beer would just make them sleepy.

        • August 23, 2012 at 11:43 am #

          “Wow, we got to school FAST this morning Mr. Larsen!. Hey, what happened to your teeth?”

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:08 am #

      The first day they installed beer machines at my former place of employment, a “certain element” sat there getting drunk and stacking up beer can mountains. It wasn’t a great day for beer culture. Of course they didn’t offer any real craft beers in the mix either.

      • August 23, 2012 at 11:44 am #

        Craft beers just would’ve made them get louder faster.

  3. August 23, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    ” Every time I see it on the shelf, my thoughts immediate go to men and women dressed up in medieval garb, putting on thick accents and having fantasy playtime right there for everyone to see. ” In that case, for your own sanity, please don’t ever accept an invitation to a Sci-Fi Convention.

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:06 am #

      Don’t worry, Wayne – I know better!

  4. August 23, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    P.S. Yes you’re stuck up (but in a good way). ;^)

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:07 am #

      I like to think so, but then again I have a high option of myself…there I go again!!

  5. August 23, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Yes you are on to something and I plan to do my part to address the stereotypes and assumptions. Psst…just last night I attended a Heineken event.

    Craft beer will struggle to gain the wider audience it seeks if it keeps assuming the other side “just doesn’t get it.” It takes education, not intimidation.

    • August 23, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      I’ve actually been saying “no thanks” to the Heineken invites. Can’t figure out a way I’d like to write nicely about them, so it doesn’t make sense to accept their hospitality.

  6. August 23, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    So, are these supposed to be stereotypes about beer or beer stereotypes? It seems it’s a mixed bag. For example, when people think of beer, they don’t usually think of hipsters wielding PBR and High Life. However, a beer stereotype concerning hipsters is that they like the retro swill.

    Also, why are you always bashing hipsters. Even I’ve come around to appreciate their charms. You do realize that someone probably calls you a hipster, right? http://www.buzzfeed.com/nikoguy1/hipster-relativity-5xy

    • August 23, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      Nah, Jim isn’t a hipster. I’ve watched a few of his beer videos, definitely not a hipster. I’ve never once seen him in skinny jeans sporting an ironic ‘stache.

      • August 23, 2012 at 11:21 am #

        Check the link I posted. It’s all relative. We’re all hipsters to someone.

        • August 23, 2012 at 11:47 am #

          Yes, even Grizzly Adams was considered a hipster by the other mountain men, with his clean flannels, perfect beard and pet bear – who the hell does that poseur think he’s foolin’ y’all?

        • Don
          August 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

          You mean “Pretty Boy” Adams, as he was known to his non hipster compatriots?

  7. August 23, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    I’m also on board with the concept of beer snobs being a barrier to entry. I don’t know how many times I’ve taken my girlfriend to a beer event and listened to her laugh at all the guys in utili-kilts and five-toed shoes waxing nerd-poetic about some minutia of beer knowledge. If she didn’t already love great beer and also, free beer (let’s not forget that point), I’d never get her to go with me. It’s like these people spray “woman repellent” into the air.

    • August 23, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Fortunately, my wife likes the folks in my homebrew club. Most are almost normal (I am the Norm, after all) and then a few are, well, eccentric. Instead of Dungeons and Dragons with wizards and whatever, we play with barley, hops, yeast, water and other stuff using weird contraptions to heat, cool, ferment, and store the results.

      • August 23, 2012 at 11:49 am #

        Check out my +1 resinous Chinook Hops and my +4 attenuated barley – I’m going crush this bugbear…I mean big beer!

    • August 23, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      I think tha’s just neerd-spray you’re smelling. It works in all forms of geekery. The bonus is that even half-way normal and manly guys suddenly look like Russel Crowe by comparison.

  8. elle cee
    August 23, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    I bristle when people refer to me as a ‘beer snob’. I was lucky enough to live in San Diego during the SoCal craft beer revolution, so had easy access to a huge variety of really tasty beer. That doesn’t make me a snob; it makes me lucky. BUT – and this is a huge one – during the summer I like Pacifico. There. I admitted it. I think it’s dang refreshing.

    • August 23, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Nothing wrong with liking what you like, but I do enjoy the fact that you’re snobbing on yourself! 🙂

  9. Diss Content
    August 23, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Completely agree about the re-enactors, they never seem to reenact using chamber pots while acknowledging that Charmin was centuries away from being invented.

    The last time I pretended to be anybody, it was a fireman rescuing a distressed woman with beer, and it was nine.

    Take heart in the fact that the stereotypes to beer fit the same profile as the mass market with food. McDonald’s is on every corner which could indicate an institution of high quality product commonly associated with a ginger clown or toys with the meal. But you know damned well where the best place is for a righteous much which would likely include some taps with craft beer. It’s the cost and convenience model against the quality program. They ultimately will live side by side just like the various makes and models of cars on the Interstate.

    Tonight I’m going to pretend to be an astronaut who is the first to discover beer on Venus, then does battle with the evil tube-top wearing, Queen of Ovda Regio.

    • August 23, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      Give her my best, Diss. Make sure you go full Shattner on her…

  10. Don
    August 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    I, personally, like the stereotypes. Without them who would keep us humble? It’s those stereotypes that differentiate us from the wine snobs.

    • August 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      I’m sure they have “Mad Dog Men” and “Wondering Winos” and Box-o-Wine Bovine’s” etc.

  11. August 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    I personally think these are spot on (I AM stuck up about beer though……). Although, I do think there are actual barriers for spirits and wine as well to a certain degree.

    Wine can be much, much more expensive (than even the rarest beer) and so some of the best stuff is out of the reach of people, some people see wine as too “fancy” and are turned off by it and some people think wine is more of a “woman’s drink” than something both sexes can enjoy.

    With spirits it seems that many people just think of doing shots or mixing it and not actually sitting down and enjoying a nice glass of scotch or something. I think price can also be a barrier at times since even some cheap spirits can be more costly than buying cheaper beer or wine.

    I don’t know, I might be off with all this, but regardless I love beer!

    • August 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      I figure if wine was good enough for Roman soldiers and Tyrion Lannister, then it’s manly enough for me as well!

      • August 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

        Haha good point! Although, he could probably make anything more manly!

        • August 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

          Even being a wee little person!

  12. Greg H
    August 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    I agree with the stereotypes and just ignore most people that fall into these categories. I rarely try to ‘convert’ anyone any more, but sometimes do by accident. I always bring some growlers of homebrew to parties and found most people like a flavorful beer, but recoil in horror at a DIPA. Cool, more for me. I recently converted to Coors Light drinkers so know they at least consider wheats and pale ales.

    • August 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      Same here – if it happens, great. I don’t try because a) it’s mostly pointless and b) why spoil someone’s enjoyment of an adult beverage by informing them you think it sucks?

  13. August 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    You’re not wrong, but you’re not on to anything that thousands of craft beer drinkers weren’t on to decades before you wrote about it.

    • August 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      First, let me thank you for your faint praise. There’s nothing quite as mildly satisfying than being “not wrong.” Except maybe “not smelling too bad” or “not being a total dork.” So we’re off to a great start!

      And while thousands of craft beer drinkers may have thought about it, I’m not sure anyone has ever written about the subject from this perspective before. That’s what we try to do here – take what craft beer geeks are thinking and give it voice in an original way. Read some of our other stuff, and you’ll get an idea of what I’m getting at.

      Also, millions of trolls have commented on blogs for decades before you posted this here, and the majority have done a better job than this weak sauce.

      • August 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

        Jim, really? I’m a troll now? Maybe I could have written what I did a little more artfully, but my point would still be the same. Nothing you wrote here is original; these topics have been regurgitated by many beer writers throughout the past 25 years -including me. I’ve been in the biz since 1987; pardon me for being blase about old news.

        Nice meeting you too.

        • August 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

          You forgot to tell me to get off your damn lawn, Marty.

        • August 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

          And in all fairness, read your first comment and tell me it doesn’t come off as an unsolicited shot across the bow. I’m a lot of things, but a hack ain’t one of them.

        • August 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

          Unsolicited? You asked the question (What do you think – Am I on to something here, or am I just stuck up about beer? ) and I responded.

          You chose to be offended.

          If you inferred from what I wrote that I was calling you a hack, perhaps you’re too thin-skinned to be writing a public blog.

        • August 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

          But your response didn’t answer that question, Marty. If I asked, “has this topic been done to death?” your answer would have made more sense.

          And I’m not offended, just surprised by your passive-aggressiveness – we usually don’t get that kind of stuff here, and it struck me as odd. But then I googled around a bit and saw where you stand on bloggers and other “non-sanctioned” writers, and then it made sense.

          To be fair, Marty, what you do (from what I can surmise) and what I do are very different things. You write to inform and you spend your energy teaching people about beer, which I think is great. I write to entertain, stimulate and “accidentally” inform, as we say around here. Our posts are written to provoke a friendly conversation between beer geeks, and as you can see we do a good job of that. I really don’t see the harm in that or why both can’t live in harmony.

          When I was reading up on you, I also saw that you’re a malt-fiend like me, and that you were probably responsible for helping those wonderful malt-bombs make it into the Sam Adams Longshot six pack this year. I thank you for that. Maybe we can get together for a beer this year at GABF. I’ll be covering it for the TODAY SHOW.

        • Brett
          August 24, 2012 at 9:22 am #

          Marty’s right……..your blog posts are nothing more than different combinations of the same 26 letters that people have been using for decades. Hack.

        • August 24, 2012 at 9:28 am #

          I also rely heavily on words like “the” and “a” and “beer” – all of which I DID NOT create!

  14. August 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    These are great. The marketing is the one that really gets me. Beer drinkers are basically neanderthals, so sayeth Madison Avenue. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Your bashing of hipsters cracks me up. It starts as a tiny thread and grows into a few sentences about irony and skinny jeans and PBR. I laugh every single time.

    I’m going to make some HUGE generalizations here, which is a no-no, so forgive me if any of your readers get hit by the shrapnel… There’s another side to this. The inhabitants of many of those other groups- the NASCAR crowd, the fizzy yellow stuff-drinkers, and the hipsters- look down on craft beer. To them, we’re “beer snobs”, and “what’s the big deal about some Belgian beer anyway?”, and “why can’t you just drink a damned Bud Light?”

    • August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      I think the big difference is that we “beer snobs” have tasted fizzy yellow stuff–ad nauseam–and realized that there are alternatives that actually taste good AND quench yer thirst. For the most part, the other groups mentioned have never ventured to try the crart/micro brews.

      But, in the final analysis, I’d respond the same way I did years ago when an acquaintance was complaining about homosexuals. “Hell, that just means that there’s more (women, good beer, fill in the blank) left for me.”

  15. Brendan
    August 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Miller has a new ad for 64 and the singers use a Lite Irish brogue, even though Miller’s founder, Friedrich, was, as you might infer from his name, German.

    There’s a stereotype for you – to sell a crappy version of a mediocre beer made by a conglomerate that owns the name of a brewery’s German founder, you have to sound Irish. I don’t usually get to stage this rant outside of March…

  16. September 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    All of the above is brilliant…but the thought of “Hot Miller chicks wrestlin’ in wet concrete” really made me laugh.

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