As of late, I’ve been hearing a lot of folks who use the Untappd app say they rarely rate or comment on the beers they check-in because they’re afraid of how the brewery might react if they don’t give a favorable review. And, that makes me sad. Sad that they feel intimated by brewers and breweries. Sad that they are being bullied on social media for their very real experience with a beverage.
NOT ALL BEERS ARE CREATED EQUAL
To be honest, there’s a lot of really bad beers out there. By “bad”, I mean sub par. Sometimes it’s quite simply a flawed recipe. Other times, something didn’t go right during the brewing or fermenting process. Or perhaps inferior ingredients were used to cut costs. Bottom line, if a beer doesn’t taste good – it doesn’t taste good. Plain and simple.
With the amount of breweries popping up across the country, the bar continues to be raised on taste and quality. We beer enthusiasts have tried hundreds… even thousands of craft brews. Through that process we are refining our palettes and becoming educated about the nuances of each beer style. We know when a beer doesn’t taste as it should because we have extensive tasting experience.
WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOICE OUR OPINION WITHOUT FEAR
I’ve yet to personally experience a brewery engage in a heated debate with me using an inflammatory tone over how I’ve rated a beer. In fact, I’ve had quite a few thank me for my honest feedback.
But I have had several friends tell me that they were reamed out by a brewery for their less than favorable comments or rating. And, now they are fearful of using these social beer apps the way they were intended. They simply check-in the beer then turn to me and tell me why it sucked. I’ve even had one friend get banned from a local brewery for rating their beer as poor on Untappd. What?! Banned? That’s ridiculous.
I’m taking a stand right here and now against these bullies. Listen up breweries! If you can’t take the God’s honest truth about your product then maybe you should consider another career path. You apparently have no respect for your customers or would be customers. I understand that some folks may use harsh words to comment on your beer but let’s be frank, when you work as a craftsman in any industry you need to learn to accept criticism and turn it into a positive. I know first hand by working in the advertising industry that you need to get thick skin when dealing with reactions of customers to your work. We can’t win them all. We just keep our heads high and strive to grow and improve our craft.
THE RALLY CRY
I empower you, my fellow craft beer drinker, to be confident in your ratings and not shy away from commenting. Don’t let the immaturity of a few brewers deter you! There are way more breweries that know the value of your opinion and understand how to positively interact with their customers and fans.
And with that empowerment, I ask that you make your criticism constructive so a brewery knows specifically what could be improved… the taste… the texture… the packaging design… etc. Don’t just say “this sucks” or “worst beer I ever had”. Speak as you would like to be spoken to. Don’t be nasty or harsh with your tone. But most importantly, be honest and straight forward. Be free to exercise your right to your opinion!
It’s Not My Style
If the brew you are tasting is not a style of beer you prefer, don’t rate it low because you don’t like the taste. For instance, if stouts aren’t your thing it is NOT okay to give the beer a 1.5 rating with a snarky comment like “This stout is so heavy and tastes like coffee. Yuck.” or “IPAs are far too bitter. How can anyone drink this?” If that style is technically meant to taste that way according to style guidelines, then the brewer has made a successful beer. It’s perfectly okay that you do not like a certain style of beer. And, it’s okay to comment why you don’t like that style. Just, please, do not give it a low rating. It is not fair to the brewers that worked so hard on making a quality product.
(Follow Me On: Twitter & Untappd: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14)