Beer, at its core, is a local product. Sure, people drink beer from all over the world. But some of the best beer is brewed in your own backyard. It doesn’t have to come from friggin’ France.
While wine is all about classist exclusivity, pseudointellectual cliques, conspicuous consumption, and cutthroat competition, beer’s all about community and collaboration. Which is why no one ever says, “Hey, let’s all get together for wines tonight.”
Sure, Anheuser-Busch InBev controls the lion’s share of the word’s beer market. And the advertising for their products is worth more than the products themselves. But they don’t control the culture of beer. The culture of beer belongs to the people. Wine, on the other hand, is completely mired in lifestyle marketing. The culture of wine is all sizzle and no steak. Just pick up a recent issue of Wine Spectator to see what we mean. Actually, don’t. Just skim it in the aisle.
Turns out those 100-point rating systems you see in the wine magazines are dictated by advertising revenue. The more a winemaker spends on advertising, the better its ratings. And while the big beer companies aren’t above disingenuous advertising—guys who drink Coors Light are not constantly surrounded by hot chicks—at least they don’t pretend their crap is worth $150 a bottle. We’re talking to you, Dom Pérignon.
Beer reflects the creative vision and technical skill of its maker. Wine reflects the soil and climate. Both are cool, but only one is art.