There has been a massive boom in the diversity of beer over the last twenty years. This has changed the definition of a beer drinker.
In the recent past, if you were a Coors drinker, then that meant you drank Coors and would likely only drink something else if someone else gave you a beer to drink. If you were a Coors drinker, you bought Coors and that was about it.
A Coors drinker today is someone that buys Coors and drinks Coors some or most of the time. Sometimes a change is good. Sometimes you might feel like trying Bud, or Miller, or Keystone, or even an import.
In Canada, the big breweries ignored this for a little while. Then a smaller brewery called Lakeport changed things on them. Lakeport put out a simple line of beers, got distributed well, and started to take a large slice of the old breweries’ pieces of the pie. What was the secret? Well, beer has four main ingredients – water, grain (malt), hops, and yeast. There is a lot of room for variation. But Lakeport didn’t really taste much different. It tasted like beer. Some people didn’t like it. Those that did like it, bought it.
What was special about Lakeport? It cost about 1/3 less than the beer from the big breweries.
Same great taste. Less financial commitment.
I know a family that has returned to the church after years of being not really interested. When they had kids, it became important for them to connect to a church. Both Mom and Dad in that family were raised in the United Church of Canada, so that made that choice a little easier for them. But they were not caught up in the mumbo-jumbo. They joined for community, for the present world, not for the after-life. They would likely consider themselves Christian by orientation but not by authentication. There is breathing room to think about things, and let the mysterious unknowns be unknown. They go to church when their son doesn’t have hockey, down at the community rink, or their daughter doesn’t have a recital, usually held at the dance school. Individuation is just how people roll these days. They pick and choose their commitments to the church because they wish to be in the church, but not of the church.
Same great community. Less direct control over their lives.
Ian, at irreducible complexity, described his ideal, non-faith-based church in a post several months ago (his sight seems down right now, sorry). Please check it out, if you haven’t looked at it yet. Essentially, it’s a social club for families. A place to mingle and share ideas. A center to initiate and nurture community projects. I would bet the family I mention above would check it out, if there was such a place in their community.
Ian’s post was part of the inspiration for my Integrative Spirituality post. At first I was really struck with just how possible Ian’s ideal church was. But as I got thinking about it, I wondered if his social club was already in place, virtually at least. I mean, this is already happening on the internet. It does not have the same social dynamic or family dynamic. In fact, it separates families into isolated, individuated rooms, making us all the more physically and consciously distant. But it is breaking down the barriers of control around information.
Same great service. Less monopolization?
So what happened to Lakeport? Like I said, the big breweries first ignored it. Then the big breweries tried to copy what Lakeport had done. Then one of the big breweries (itself owned by an even larger brewing company) simply bought up Lakeport. And the price of Lakeport at the beer store has been on the rise ever since.
I used to be a Lakeport drinker, but it’s kind of lost its flavour. I’m much more interested in the imports and local micro-breweries now. They have some intriguing tastes to offer. And, I don’t mind offering my time and attention to both the international and the local. I’ve even tried home-brew, under my dad’s watchful eye.
The big breweries are still pretty much running the show, unfortunately, and snatch up the little ones that get out of line. But at the same time, I sure hope those big breweries don’t have enough money to buy up everything. That’s not exactly how I want to see the world all become one.
What do you think?