05 September 2013

August 29, 2013: The Tweet Heard Round the Community (For that day)

Jake Wrote:

I love you guys, but you're crazy.

Last week Leslie Bailey from the Indianapolis Star wrote a piece titled "Let's cut out the 'sincere flattery' and set our own trends". To draw attention to her article, she tweeted "Enough with the craft beer, cupcakes and fro-yo, Indianapolis. Yeah, I said it." As you notice if you click the link, that tweet was sent on August 27th. The only real mention of craft beer is that Bailey feels there is an option for craft beer on every corner, so I understand why people did not initially pick up on the article and tweet. However, on the 29th, the Indianapolis area's newest "craft beer villain" (my term) unwittingly made his voice known when he tweeted "Considering Indy doesn't have a craft beer scene, I would hate to hear your thoughts in Phoenix."

What I watched unfold for the remaining 24 hour cycle was at first hilarious and then took on a whole different angle. See, the craft beer community as a whole can get pretty defensive. But, when we apply our midwestern roots to that defensive trait, it can get pretty nasty. If you scroll through the full 100+ replies in the link to Leslie's tweet you can see where things get progressively more aggressive, and personal.

The irony of the whole thing is that we had our monthly Hoosier Beer Geek Pint Night scheduled for the 29th. So, a number of the individuals that were interacting on twitter were going to be seeing each other a few hours later. Talk about a conversation starter. I showed up late to the event but a friend summarized the day incredibly when she said, "Although we are all very competitive with each other, we are a very defensive community when tested."

Throughout the day, I kept thinking back to our ten commandments post . Specifically, number 10: "And finally, thou shalt remember that when all is said and done, it's just beer." Because we, as members of the craft beer community, put so much time, money, and passion into our enjoyment of the beverage, we tend to brush aside the fact that we account for 6.5% of the beer market by volume. A beer market that is 49% of all alcohol sold in the US. We are already a niche within a niche. Take that a step further to our local market. If Indiana is 2% of the US population, that means we are 0.1% of the beer market. I don't see that as a bad thing as long as it is kept in perspective.

In fact, I love that we are a small, but mighty, community. I have met so many amazing people within the Indianapolis craft beer scene. Yes, Ricky, it exists and it is an incredible collection of some of the most intelligent and creative people that I know. There are just times for us to step back, grab a beer, and enjoy the moment instead of resorting to personal attacks on a person or place that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. 

Shameless plug: Tailgate for Nothing is a perfect time to get to know more people and see what I mean with the previous paragraph. Come see us on November 9th in the Sun King Parking lot. 


  1. Great post Jake. I missed the new "craft beer villian" but I'll say this. I'm fine with letting people think that we have no craft beer scene. Let's us locals enjoy everything without having to worry about people descending upon Indy to harvest our crop of awesome beers. That may be a selfish viewpoint, and I'm all for growth and certainly am in support of Indy becoming a more recognized craft scene, but I'm totally cool with it if people want to think we have no scene. cheers!

    1. Thanks Kevin. I completely agree. As we got to drink Big John on tap the day after the event, I will take that every time.

  2. Nice job Jake. That was an interesting conversation on twitter in many regards. I feel like Indy has a "comfortable" craft beer scene with a lot of room to grow- we have a long way to go before there's "an option for craft beer on every corner"... leslie must not frequent areas outside of broad ripple, downtown, and fountain square.

    As Kevin alludes to, we don't have to fight others for our beer. A prime example of this was at TwentyTap's awesome 2nd anniversary party: there were some amazing beers on tap thanks to places like Against the Grain and Flat12 and I was able to enjoy those beers hours after they were tapped, and in fact a few of those beers are still on tap now. I think in most "beer cities" those kegs would've blown quickly under a rush of beer geeks, but here I got to enjoy the beers on my schedule and have a good time with others.

    1. Russ, Thanks for the comment. I definitely agree that we still have a long way to go in Indy before we get to the complete saturation. In my opinion, we still don't have a dedicated craft beer bar option that doesn't require a drive to Muncie.

      Definitely agree that some of those kegs would have been gone within hours at other events. I think the Gin aged Cucumber Kolsch finally kicked during the Goose Island tapping on Wednesday.