My friend Tristen sent me a couple of articles this past week featuring some interesting beer news.
New Brunswick producing government brand beer
The first article from the CBC is about the New Brunswick government producing its own beer. They’ve actually setup a crown corporation to brew government brand Selection Lager and Selection Light, also known as Socialist Light and Socialst Even Lighter (I just made that up). They have introduced this new low cost beer to combat the loss of beer sales to neighbouring Quebec. New Brunswick will be selling their beer at the legal minimum price, a price that other breweries can only match via an application and only at certain times of the year.
What bothers me is that the New Brunswick Government is essentially making beer a commodity. They are saying that their citizens deserve cheap beer, not tastier or better quality beer. This quote really sums it up: “If you like mass-produced Canadian lager, this tastes just as good as the other ones. So why would you not save money?”
I can only see this move by the NB government as negatively affecting the New Brunswick craft beer industry. Price conscious beer shoppers will have one more reason to avoid a locally made, interesting craft beer, a sentiment echoed by Mocton’s Pump House Brewery in the article. Consumers may be able to buy beer for less, but they’ll also be getting less variation and, in my opinion, less enjoyment.
Beer taps at your table
The second article tells the story of a Kentucky bar that has installed beer taps at tables for self service. I was initially really excited about this. I thought table taps could be pretty cool, provided the beer selection at the table was good, no more waiting for service! I then had second thoughts, specifically what interesting things inebriated people might do to these unsupervised taps, compromising their cleanliness. Greater availability of beer might also lead to over indulgence, but then that is a self control factor.
The taps themselves are produced by Table Tap Products. I don’t really see any reason why they couldn’t work out in a supervised environment. Maybe table taps will take off? After my initial excitement, I am not really sure I care if they spread. There is something to be said for the bartender/customer interaction and I can’t see many traditional pubs installing table taps. I guess we’ll see what happens.