The Session No. 78: Your Elevator Pitch for Beer

This month’s Session* topic is hosted by James Davidson of Beer Bar Band. James asks us to develop an “elevator pitch” for beer under the following scenario:

You walk into an elevator and hit the button for your destination level. Already in the elevator is someone holding a beer…and it’s a beer that annoys you because, in your view, it represents all that is bad with the current state of beer.

You can’t help but say something, so you confront your lift passenger with the reason why their beer choice is bad.

30 seconds is all you have to sell your pitch for better beer, before the lift reaches the destination floor. There’s no time, space or words to waste. You must capture and persuade the person’s attention as quickly as possible. When that person walks out of the elevator, you want them to be convinced that you have the right angle on how to make a better beer world.

James’ rules for the elevator pitch are: “In less than 250 words or 30 seconds of multimedia content, write/record/create your elevator pitch for beer in which you argue your case, hoping to covert the listener to your beer cause.”

I ask you, dear reader: When have I ever been able to keep something to 250 words?

I’ll admit to struggling with this one.  My overwhelming inclination is to go all “Alan McLeod” on you** and attack the premise instead of just sucking it up and answering the question. Maybe it’s the shared first name. Or perhaps the whole attorney thing – that natural inclination to begin every thought with “yeah, but.”

Looking for a little help, I read further into James’ post to find this clarification: “The topic is essentially open. It is whatever you feel passionately about when it comes to the misgivings of beer in today’s market and/or culture.”

Now wait a minute.  That sounds like an entirely different premise than creating an elevator pitch for better beer.

Yet, I can’t shake it.  Who am I to tell someone they should stop drinking the beer in their hand because it “represents all that is bad with the current state of beer.” 

In fact, I can’t think of a single beer that represents such a thing.  There are many things we might consider “bad” with the current state of beer.  Restrictive alcohol laws creating barriers to brewery development. Fights among the three tier system. “Lifetime” distributor contracts creating barriers to market entry. Underhanded distributor tactics in the fight for shelf and tap space. Marketing tactics that have nothing to do with the taste of the beer.

I could go on. Not that any of these are new problems. But what beer represents all of them?  Bud Light? I have no problem with someone who enjoys a Bud Light. 

With any pitch there is absolutely one essential component: no one likes to be criticized for their choice. Lead with opportunity, not criticism. 

My enthusiasm for “good” beer doesn’t start with the idea that anyone else is doing it wrong.  Growler Fills is not a platform for telling anyone what they should or should not drink. These posts are all connected to my interest in exploring beer.  Not in an evangelical way, but part cheerleader with a dose of critical thinking. You’ve obviously read this far because you are on the same journey.

Now that I’ve found my way around my stubborn near-refusal to take up the task, here’s my pitch:

“I see you like ______.  Want some free beer?  Follow me.  I need help trying some new things.”***

Really, who doesn’t like free beer?
*Today is the first Friday in August which means it’s time to take part in The Session, a collective effort of beer bloggers around the world to write on a common topic once each month.
** Alan McLeod’s writings are interesting and tend to make you think critically about beer subjects that are often repeatedly passed on to the masses without any care or concern – particularly the craft beer cheerleading that entirely lacks any “yeah, but” component. His dogged determination to challenge everything, however, makes you want to choke him at times.  You’ll find him at A Good Beer Blog.
*** WAY less than 250 words.