Sunday, December 23, 2007

Turn the other cheek ... that's what I always say (choke).

Long before the advent of blogging, I would make an annual effort to compose something profound in recognition of the Christmas holiday. Invariably, this effort ended in failure, as it will today. As a humanist and an atheist, I’ve very little profound to say about the season, although I suppose at some level it is in my self-interest to have a holiday that encourages the worst excesses of capitalist materialism. After all, a few of those dollars find their way to us.

I appreciate it, and I’m thankful for your patronage irrespective of your motivations beyond the simplest imperative of an atmosphere conducive to eating, drinking and merriment. Given our raison d’etre with regard to beer, I suppose a certain ideological unity of purpose between drinking customers and me is necessary. If you don't agree with the tenets of good beer, you may not wish to stop by. It's unavoidable.

Otherwise, it’s never much mattered to me what someone believes politically or religiously in the sense that if it doesn’t come up in conversation, it hardly matters anyway, and if it does come up, I’d like to think we could discuss the topics intelligently while enjoying a few ounces of what really matters to me the most.

At the same time, I know that being opinionated has its drawbacks for one vending wares in the occasionally free market. Just recently, a colleague in the service industry told me that one of his customers refuses to patronize my business because of my political and religious beliefs, presumably expressed in forums like this one.

It’s my guess that such a statement would horrify much of my brethren in the business, but it’s reaffirming to me, both from a personal and a professional perspective. For one, I regularly deploy similar reasoning when considering how I’ll spend discretionary income; kindly note that I’ve not spent a dime in Wal-Mart for a decade or more. I’ll pay a higher price to keep money out of the hands of those bastards … any day.

From the standpoint of running a niche beer business, you must go into it knowing that you’ll not be trying to please everyone. In fact, that’s the entire point of it. Wal-Mart seeks to tilt the marketplace and deny choice to gain a high percentage of customers. We seek to finesse the marketplace to find those customers who know what they want and will reward those establishments who can provide it.

In the end, one lives by the sword and dies by the sword; truly, that’s all right with me. It wouldn’t be very interesting otherwise. At least it’s honest money, and I can look into the mirror without retching.

I’m told that the person who boycotts us on political and religious grounds regularly prays for my soul. Don’t ask me what I think about that.

I wouldn’t want to offend you ...

Despite it all, have a tolerable and happy holiday. For whatever reason.


Brendan said...

Much as I do not like the idea of the small-minded chasing people out of their own community, if you get ridden out of town on a rail, Minneapolis would welcome you. You run a good beer bar by any measuring instrument. We would be wealthier as community for having you, and you could preach to the converted as well!

john paul said...

this is the most refreshing holiday message i've read in years - now that That Season is safely behind us - i'm really ready share the joy.