Beer In Ads #1344: At The Bar


Wednesday’s ad is still another one for Double Diamond, also from the 1950s. Part of the Ind Coope’s “Works Wonders” series. This one shows a trio of their usual cartoon characters bellying up to a bar, and like that old commercial for nut, all they ask is one per day. From the great ad copy. “A daily glass of this big-hearted Burton beer smooths the rough edges of life, revives and refreshes, puts you back on top of your form.”

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A Link-Bait Manifesto

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This morning I got a press release from the P.R. Firm for a well-known men’s magazine that was so obviously link-bait, that I almost didn’t even want to read it. I won’t say who or what, mostly because I’m tired of playing into their hands, but most of you will no doubt be able to figure it out, as I’ve already started seeing responses and retweets.

It’s something I’ve been guilty of time and time again. I hate myself for it, but I still can’t seem to help it. When I see something that annoys me, or strikes me as being wrong on some level, I often feel compelled to intercede. I’m seeking help.

A few years ago, I definitely would have penned an angry response, pointing out the flawed reasoning, or what have you. But I think I’m done, at least I hope so. I was bcc’d (thankfully) so I have no way of knowing just how many people the P.R. firm was trying to bait with their e-mail, but I suspect it was a lot of people. The e-mail itself used the most incendiary quotes from the piece, obviously designed to raise the hackles of the beer community and rally support against the piece, all in an effort to get thousands of people to visit the website and get their hit count going through the roof.

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Essentially, this has become a strategy on the internet. Say something incendiary, and reap the rewards. Maybe some of the people actually believe what they’re writing, but I get the sense that even if that’s the case, they do it in such a way as to maximize the outrage, and thus insure a greater number of responses. Often, I think, the extreme position taken is done precisely to get a rise out of people. I think it’s become a variation of the old saw about there being no such thing as bad publicity, in this case more along the lines of as long as people are clicking on the link, it doesn’t matter what they say or whether it’s even true or not. All that matters is the hit count. Oscar Wilde was saying something similar in the 19th century. “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

Sadly, there are all sorts of helpful websites explaining just how to accomplish this. See, for example, the SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait, The Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Link Bait, or SEO Advice: linkbait and linkbaiting. There’s even a helpful infographic and a link bait title generator. While most of them insist that not all link bait is bad, in our little part of the interwebs, that hasn’t been my experience.

I think I’ve just grown weary of hearing why the bubble is about to burst, or why you hate hops or beer with flavor, or that you drink your beer out of a plastic cup as god intended. Please, stop. Okay, I’m certain that won’t work. No plea for sanity every has. So instead I’d like to propose that we all agree to ignore them. That’s really the only way to make them stop. If we all ignore the link bait, and they don’t get the expected backlash they’re hoping for, then they’ll have no choice but to stop trying.

Having a different opinion or wanting to spark a meaningful discussion about it will remain an excellent reason to pen a thoughtful blog post or article. But taking an opinion that’s designed to provoke outrage with inflammatory language, fringe positions, or by insulting entire swaths of people has no place in the marketplace of ideas that the beer blogosphere should aspire to. Just say know.

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Don’t take the bait

Brewers For Clean Water

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There was interesting article a couple of days ago on Newsweek, entitled Craft Beer Brewers Team Up to Improve Water Standard about a group of breweries partnering with the “Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a New York–based environmental group, to support stricter regulations on water pollution.” At least forty breweries are currently signed on as “Brewers for Clean Water,” including Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada Breweries.

According to Newsweek:

The NRDC and the brewers, including the California-based Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada brewing companies, are asking citizens to write to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize a proposed rule that would give federal government more latitude to enforce the Clean Water Act. The agency is currently considering public comments until November 14, before putting the finishing touches on the fine text of the rule, known as the “Waters of the United States.”

The NRDC also created a video about the issue of water.

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Beer Birthday: Jason Alstrom

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Today is the 43rd birthday of Jason Alström, co-founder of Beer Advocate headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, but found worldwide over that series of tubes known as the interwebs. Started as a hobby, Beer Advocate has gone on to be one of the internet’s killer apps of beer, which has successfully branched out into publishing and putting on beer festivals. Join me in wishing Jason a very happy birthday.

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Jason with Jaime Jurado, then-Director of Brewing Operations for the Gambrinus Company, and his brother Todd at GABF in 2008.

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After judging the finals for the 2009 Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason, Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend, Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly, Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Jason’s brother Todd Alström.

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Jason, standing far left, toasting at Munich’s Hofbrauhaus.

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During a trip to Bavaria in 2007, the gang of twelve plus three at the Faust Brauerei in Miltenberg, Germany. From left: Cornelius Faust, me, Lisa Morrison, Johannes Faust, Julie Bradford, Andy Crouch, Peter Reid, Horst Dornbusch, Jeannine Marois, Harry Schumacher, Tony Forder, Candice Alström, Don Russell, Jason and Todd Alström.

Beer In Ads #1342: Enjoy A Double Diamond Today


Monday’s ad is another one for Double Diamond, this time from 1949. Part of the Ind Coope’s “Works Wonders” series, this is a fairly simple, but beautiful looking ad. One think that’s off to me, however, is the color of the green glass. It appears more like that dull, light green of an old coke bottle, rather than the bright green glass used by Heineken, Beck’s and many others. Is that really what they looked like? I love some of the ad copy, too, especially when they explain how drinking a Double Diamond will “take the tension out of life, revives your confidence, puts you back on top of your form.” After reading that, I don’t just want a beer, I need one.

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The Drunkard’s Cloak

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Once upon a time, society kept everybody in line through social pressure, and if that didn’t work, public humiliation. The pillory was a common punishment, and you’re undoubtedly familiar with the main type, a wooden stake with two perpendicular pieces of wood that fit together, with holes for a person’s head and both hands, so that once all three were secured, you were stuck in the public square for a period of time depending on the severity of your crime. But that was only the most common type, and there were several others, such as the scold’s bridle or the jougs. But there was also a specific pillory used in the case of public drunkenness. In England, it was known as a Drunkard’s Cloak.

According to one source, “Drunkenness was first made a civil offence in England by the Ale Houses Act 1551 and the drunkard’s cloak became a common method of punishing recidivists, especially during the Commonwealth of England. From 1655 Oliver Cromwell suppressed many of England’s alehouses, particularly in Royalist areas, and the authorities made regular use of the cloak.”

The 1655 publication England’s Grievance Discovered, by Ralph Gardiner, describes the Drunkard’s Cloak like this.

Men drove up and down the streets, with a great tub, or barrel, opened in the sides, with a hole in one end, to put through their heads, and to cover their shoulders and bodies, down to the small of their legs, and then close the same, called the new fashioned cloak, and so make them march to the view of all beholders; and this is their punishment for drunkards, or the like.

“Drunkards are to pay a fine of five shillings to the poor, to be paid within one week, or be set in.”

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In 1655, John Willis claimed that in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, “he hath seen men drove up and down the streets with a great tub or barrel opened in the sides, with a hole in one end to put through their heads, and so cover their shoulders and bodies, down to the small of their legs, and then close the same, called the newfangled cloak, and so make them march to the view of all beholders; and this is their punishments for drunkards and the like.”

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It was also used in other parts of Europe, though often called by different names, such as the Spanish Mantle or the Barrel Pillory. In Germany, it was called a Schandmantel, which means “coat of shame” or “barrel of shame.”

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And there’s actual one in the torture museum in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

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By some accounts, the Spanish Mantle may have been a more serious torture device, intended to inflict more than just humiliation.

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A 1641 diary entry by John Evelyn described one in Delft, Holland as “a weighty vessel of wood, not unlike a butter churn, which the adventurous woman that hath two husbands at one time is to wear on her shoulders, her head peeping out at the top only, and so led about the town, as a penance for her incontinence.”

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Apparently this type of punishment was not confined to Europe, and also made its way to the American colonies.

Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop, in 1634, noted that Robert Cole (1598-1655), who had come to Massachusetts with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, “having been oft punished for drunkenness, was now ordered to wear a red D about his neck for a year.” Some literature professors suggest that this was the origin of the story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

“Robert Cole was living in Roxbury, Massachusetts, when he petitioned to be made a “freeman” on 19 Oct 1630, and was granted that status by the General Court on 18 May 1631, along with 113 other men. He was disfranchised 4 Mar 1634, for a short time on account of his problem with drinking too much wine, when he was also ordered to wear a red letter “D” on his clothing for a year; however, his freeman status was reinstated about two months later on 14 May 1634, and the requirement to wear the letter ‘D’ was also revoked at that time.”

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And according to Curious Punishments of Bygone Days, published in 1896 by Alice Morse Earle, it was used during the American Civil War, as well.

Another Union soldier, a member of Company B, Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, writes that while with General Banks at Darnstown, Virginia, he saw a man thus punished who had been found guilty of stealing: With his head in one hole, and his arms in smaller holes on either side of the barrel, placarded “I am a thief,” he was under a corporal’s guard marched with a drum beating the rogue’s march through all the streets of the brigade to which his regiment was attached. Another officer tells me of thus punishing a man who stole liquor. His barrel was ornamented with bottles on either side simulating epaulets, and was labelled “I stole whiskey.” Many other instances might be given. There was usually no military authority for these punishments, but they were simply ordered in cases which seemed too petty for the formality of a court-martial.

This “barrel-shirt,” which was evidently so frequently used in our Civil War, was known as the Drunkard’s Cloak, and it was largely employed in past centuries on the Continent.

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Another eyewitness account from 1862 described the scene as follows. “One wretched delinquent was gratuitously framed in oak, his head being thrust through a hole cut in one end of a barrel, the other end of which had been removed; and the poor fellow loafed about in the most disconsolate manner, looking for all the world like a half-hatched chicken.”

Surprisingly, the most recent example I found for the Drunkard’s Cloak was in 1932, when it was still in use in American prisons, such as the Sunbeam Prison Camp, in Florida, which is where the photo below was taken.

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I’m certainly glad that public shaming has, for the most part, been removed from our justice system. Although I’ve never been arrested for public drunkenness, I’ve certainly made a fool of myself in private or with friends, and this certainly seems a bit excessive. Clearly, it was ineffective at controlling peoples’ behavior, but I wonder what it was in the end that finally stopped it being used as a punishment?

Beer Birthday: Will Meyers

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Today is the birthday of Will Meyers, brewmaster of Cambridge Brewing near Boston, Massachusetts. Will’s a great brewer and an even better human being, one of the nicest in the industry. Join me in wishing Will a very happy birthday.

Will Meyers, with Kevin & Megan, from Cambridge Brewing
Will, with Kevin and Megan Parisi (whose birthday is also today), then also from Cambridge Brewing, at GABF in 2009.

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Accepting the award as Grand U.S. Champion from the Great British Beer Festival at GABF.

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Showing off his barrel room under the brewpub during CBC last year when it was in Boston.

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Will with his lovely bride Cindy Lou.

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Will shortly before he began his career as a brewer.

Beer In Ads #1341: If You Want To Feel Heroic …


Sunday’s ad is for Double Diamond, from the 1950s. Part of the Ind Coope’s “Works Wonders” series, but I’m not sure this one was such a good idea. Suggesting that after a few beers, one might have the courage, and skill, to fight crime seems like a potential liability for the brewery. “But your honor, after a few beers, I just had to assert myself. I couldn’t let him get away with the swag.”

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Beer Birthday: Luc De Raedemaeker

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Today is the 43rd birthday of Luc De Raedemaeker, who’s the Tasting Director for the Brussels Beer Challenge, and also the owner of BIERinhuis. I first met Luc in D.V. when Stephen Beaumont introduced us during CBC, and then we judged together in Japan last year. We’ve since run into one another several time, both in the states and in Belgium, and he’s always fun to share a beer or three with. Join me in wishing Luc a very happy birthday.

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Luc with Jan Smets at Brouwerij Het Anker in Mechelen at an event in November of 2013.

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Luc at Brasserie Bahnhove in Belgium with Lisa Morrison and Mark Campbell in November of last year. [photo by Bart Van der Perre.]

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Luc, second from the right, at the World Beer Cup in Denver earlier this year.

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Judging in Japan in 2013. Luc is in the back row, right next to me on the left.