Uncle Jack beat me to it on blogging about Rick Nichols's very nice piece on craft beer on page 1 of today's Inquirer. That's right: Craft Beer On The Front Page of Philly's major daily. Very nice, and as Jack sez, nice piece, too.
So all I could do was blog about the pathetic closer: Oregon's winemakers are "fighting back" against beer's success. I'd already chased this story down earlier in the week and then run out of time to blog about it before leaving for Kentucky (I was writing that pumpkin beer story I mentioned on Facebook), and I'm glad Nichols and Jack both brought it up. It's too good to waste.
Here's the piece. First off, sorry, but...it's not that well-written. It jumps all over the place, and never really develops a groove. And then we get stuff like this:
At the bar, men outnumber women 5-to-1. And men, on average, say they prefer beer to wine, according to a Gallup poll last year. Other statistics show 70-percent of wine buyers are women. So, while the atmosphere at the brewery is pretty relaxed, there’s actually a spirited battle for customers going on here.The atmosphere at what brewery is pretty relaxed? And what spirited battle for customers is going on? I'm going to believe Ted Farthing, the wine guy, that beer and wine are "fighting"? The beer drinkers and brewers they quote in the article don't seem to be aware of the "fight" at all. The one brewer they talked to was, to be fair, pretty relaxed (though that was 6 'graphs after the 'atmo at the brewery' line): "It’s cool for guys to sit around and drink a bottle of wine," said the co-owner at Cascade Lakes Brewing. Pretty big of him, almost magnanimous.
Ted Farthing: “We’re all fighting for share of stomach.” Ted Farthing is the executive director of the Oregon Wine Board. He says wine and beer and liquor are all competing against each other, for our limited beverage budgets.
From where I'm sitting, there's no fight. In fact, it looks like Oregon winemakers are shooting themselves in the foot with the dumb gun. Check this out:
For instance, Ted Farthing with the Oregon Wine Board [really, they say the whole thing again, just in case you forgot who he was] says Oregon’s wines are on average more expensive and more refined than other states. Ted Farthing [of the Oregon Wine Board Farthings]: “Given the shifting landscape, the Oregon Wine Board has actually narrowed our target to make sure we are still speaking to the people who are purchasing wines over $15 or $20 at least once a month, and this is only about 3 percent of the U.S. population.”Is Ted Farthing with the Oregon Wine Board aware that the only sector of the booze market that's down MORE than wines over $20 a bottle is champagne? And they want to narrow their target to make sure they're only speaking to the people who are still buying those wines?
But don't worry. They've got a plan.
That’s not to say that Farthing [is that Ted Farthing with the Oregon Wine Board?] isn’t looking at new markets. In addition to men, he says winemakers in the state need to target millennial [sic]. One way to do that is to embrace the digital age – the Oregon Wine Board has already launched several Facebook groups to convince 21-to-30 year-olds that wine can be cool.Cool? Hey, kids -- boy kids -- wine is cool! A brewer said so...
Guess we know why craft beer is on the front page. I was just telling someone yesterday that there is more coverage of craft beer than wine in the Philly media lately. Between dopey winemakers and the absolutely brain-damaged PLCB, it's not a wonder.