Anybody know what we’re supposed to call “beer” these days?
I ask not because I want to dive back into the craft versus crafty debate. No, it’s because I came across this sign while picking up a few items at my local Safeway one evening last week:
According to the sign, we should be looking forward to an expanded selection and help finding “each category.” I’m curious to learn what Safeway considers to be a “category.” And since the sign’s photo depicting the new and improved beer aisle looks almost identical to our store’s existing aisle, I’m not exactly expecting a beer revolution.
In fact, about the only change apparent from the photo illustration is the addition of a giant “Craft Beer” sign over the rows of beer. It’s that sign that caused me to snap a photo. (Well, that and wondering what the difference between “craft beer” and “microbrews” is. Maybe those are the two new categories we need help finding.)
You can’t see it well in this low-res photo, but above the words “Craft Beer” in the giant sign is the phrase “For the Aficionado.”
Great, that’s just what we need. More suggestion that the craft beer segment, or whatever you want to call it, is for a limited portion of the population. I appreciate that Safeway is incorporating a bigger selection and wider variety of beer, if that’s what they’re actually doing, but they might as well hang up a sign directing people to the “snob” section.
I have no problem with the word “aficionado.” I easily fit the definition when it comes to beer, though I prefer to use the term “enthusiast.”
But craft beer is for everyone. Montana is the perfect embodiment of that basic truth. From its largest cities to its smallest towns, walk into any one of Montana’s 40 breweries (and growing) and you will find all walks of life enjoying local, fresh, craft beer.
So thank you, Safeway, for making an effort to boost your offerings. But find a new PR team. You’re sending the wrong message.