Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday Weekly: Someone's gotta keep non-advertisers in line, right?

Yes, there are a few things about craft beer that you can learn by picking up an issue of this week’s Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO).

Most importantly, writer Jonathan Meador does what LEO always has done best in a genuinely balanced but cutting examination of the Alcohol Beverage Control’s recent citing of bars in Germantown for alleged zoning law violations.

Are the bars there being targeted? The ABC says “no,” and the crux of the matter is the existence (or not) of non-conforming clauses when the bars in question changed ownership. Since several of these establishments (Nachbar, Swan Dive) are noted for offering craft beer, it’s an article of more than passing interest for enthusiasts.

The bulk of the craft beer references in this week’s LEO come courtesy of paid advertising, and I’m sure there are salutary effects on the bottom line.

There’s a nifty full-page ad for Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, which won a silver medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup. Congratulations to Alltech. The new Falls City has a 1/8 page insert, too, and it’s tasteful. You can see the NABC logo in an ad for the Black Keys show at Iroquois on August 11, and Old Chicago name drops New Albanian in its half-page ad, along with BBC and Browning’s, although not Cumberland.

Ask them, not me.

Schlafly’s own half-pager urges readers to “raise some Helles.” Come to think of it, I might just do that, because Browning’s also brews a superb Helles, and it’s been on tap at the portable concession stand (Section 115) during Louisville Bats games for much of the season. Accordingly, looking through LEO, I see there’s advertising from the Bats, apparently putting in a belated bid for the craft beer market with a bright quarter-page paean to “$2 craft beer,” which … which … what’s that loud noise … could you hold just a minute while I see what’s causing Dr. Goebbel’s to thrash so violently in his grave?

Okay, now I understand. Those particular “craft” beers touted by the Bats in LEO are the same ones that Anheuser-Busch itself describes as “craft” beer, which in terms of objective reality is tantamount to my observing what a brilliant lavender color my Schlafly Helles beer has today.

Which is to say: It is utter propaganda, lacking any quality capable of being linked to truth, and as the originator of 20th-century mass-market propaganda, Joe has reason to be highly annoyed that Anheuser-Busch treats his legacy so shabbily.

Wait -- there’s even more! Specifically, a full-page LEO Weekly blurb for itself, which skillfully lampoons Sarah Palin-speak as a prelude to more Goebbels grave spinning:

Also too the mainstream media does suck also ... at LEO Weekly, in-depth analysis isn’t limited to the hoppiness of locally brewed beers. We also analyze the bitterness of locally brewed politics. The way we see it, there are thousands of papers to scrutinize the Obamas and Palins of the world, but someone’s got to keep Katie King in line, too. We volunteer.

Actually, apart from Meador’s Germantown expose, today’s LEO contains no analysis whatever of the hoppiness of local beers, and that’s because Mr. Mug Shot (yours truly) was given his walking papers for wondering why LEO seeks to keep politicians like Katie King in line, but not breweries like Anheuser-Busch, and even though it appears that LEO will not publicly explain my absence, the juxtaposition of A-B “craft” beer in one ad and King’s name in another serves to compel me to at least publish a letter to the LEO editor sent by my friend and research assistant, Paul Mick.

Three weeks later, and to no one’s surprise, it remains unpublished. Appreciate the gesture, Paul. Did you mail it to Possibility City, or LEO’s local corporate office in Nashville, Tennessee?

“For the past 7 years, I've lauded LEO as a bastion of uncompromising journalism and discerning taste to countless new students at U of L. I'd tell them to consult your paper if they ever had any questions about local events, politics, or dining and I'd warn them to steer clear of the pitiful simulacrum that is Velocity. I would even take tour groups past your stands so they could pick up a copy and see all that Louisville has to offer as a city.

“However, your recent decision to terminate Roger Baylor's Mug Shots column in order to placate macrobreweries has wounded me deeply. For all of the grief you (often rightly) give Mayor Abramson for his dealings with Cordish, you certainly seem eager to hop InBed with InBev and sell out your columnists for thirty pieces of silver.“

In the recent 20th anniversary issue of LEO, BIlly Reed commented, "Since day one, there have been no sacred cows at LEO." Apparently that doesn't apply to big business advertisers, to whom you are more than willing to kowtow. Roger, an icon of the Louisville craft beer revolution, has always been dedicated to telling the public the truth in an undistilled and undiluted form. If honesty on the rocks is a bit hard for you all to swallow, then I suggest you crack open a Bud Light with Lime, cease pretending to be truth purists, and openly embrace the company that has clearly bought your opinion.”

Paul Mick, The HIghlands

No comments: