The Promiscuity of Craft Beer Drinkers

Harris King, May 12, 2014

I recently sat down with RJ Rockers founder and brewer Mark Johnsen to learn more about the South Carolina Brewery’s 17-year story. One quote that I didn’t use in that piece but has stuck with me is the following:

“The challenge is just more and more choices for the craft beer consumer. Jim Koch, of the Boston Beer company, described craft beer drinkers as promiscuous.”

Then he looked me square in the eyes and said:

“Tell me this isn’t yourself: you go to a great craft beer store and you buy two six packs. You’re going to buy something you’ve never heard of because it looks just kind of curious,  and you’re going to buy something that you know is going to be a rock solid choice. So you’re always cheating on your favorite breweries to find something different.”

Well, he got me. That’s me. I have my favorites, and I believe in drinking as local as possible. Along the I-85 corridor in NC/SC/GA, I have my hometown RJ Rockers or Olde Mecklenburg in Charlotte, Terrapin in Athens or Sweetwater in Atlanta. But I’m a cheater.

I had to have Hopslam and ultimately got some. I am a big fan of pilsners and have searched bottle shops from head to toe looking for Saaz-hopped creations from around the country (Prima is my favorite all told).

I’m also a sucker for craft beer 12-pack on sale at a grocery story. Mostly that’s Sierra Nevada, whose beer I love pretty much across the board, but sometimes imports like Warsteiner or Stella Artois (see above for my admiration of sulfury pilsners) will mysteriously find their way into my shopping buggy.

And then there are my favorites, both for taste and for sentimental value or a good back story. Cigar City’s Jai Alai is on high on that list, Lagunitas Sucks combines taste and exclusivity and the ongoing Enjoy By series from Stone is something I travel far and wide for – 07.04.14 will be released on May 30th!

What about y’all? Tell me how you’re faithful. Tell me how you cheat. Do you trade across the country with friends using the mail? Have you ever engaged in the craft beer shadow market? Let’s get some scandal up in here!

Harris tweets, sometimes in German, about the Braves, soccer, music, baking and beer @ohkiv and is older than most everybody in his timeline. Kraftwerk is his Zeppelin.