Sunday, May 4, 2014

Funeral for a Distant Acquaintance

Later. Image source: Ashley's Westland on Facebook.

The fine folks of Ashley's in Westland asked me to deliver a eulogy for the Bud Light tap handle that died there last week, to be replaced by Short's Local's Light. I thought all y'all might be interested in checking it out.

Here's how I wrote it:
Ladies and gentlemen, friends, fellow beer lovers,

This is a momentous occasion, for Bud Light was my introduction to drinking good beer.

Said no one, ever.

We gather today to mark a turning point in the craft beer movement that Ashley’s has long championed. We say goodbye to this mass-produced light lager, brewed by a foreign-owned conglomerate, even as we welcome its replacement, a Michigan-made craft beer from our friends at Short’s.

Today’s burial is symbolic, but it goes beyond just symbolism. I’m old enough to remember when practically none of this existed. Once upon a time, Americans drank only stuff like the dearly departed. Most still do. But there has been an important shift in taste, thanks to the growth in just the past three decades of small, independent breweries that use real, traditional ingredients to make their beers. Or real, nontraditional ingredients, in the case of Short’s.

I’m not a numbers guy, but the statistics bear out the truth that more people these days are drinking better beer. Nationally last year, at a time when overall beer sales by volume were down almost two percent, sales of craft beer by volume grew 18 percent. Craft beer now accounts for about 8 percent of all beer sales by volume in the country. There’s clearly a lot of people out there still drinking bland macrobrews, but make no mistake, the big boys are running scared.

Mountains that turn blue when the can is cold. Aluminum bottles. Punch holes that help you pour your tasteless brew more smoothly. And boobs. Lots of boobs. As my brother, a professional and home brewer, puts it, “The big breweries will do anything but actually make good beer.”

Thankfully we now have lots of smaller breweries that will and do make good, flavorful beer – more than 2,700 nationwide and about 150 in Michigan. You can try many of them right here at Ashley’s, whether during special events like today’s Cask Ale Festival or on any average school night.

So we raise our pints in farewell to you, Bud Light. It’s been real. But in this bright new era of great beer, there’s just no room for you anymore. And I can’t really say we’re sorry about that.

And here's how I delivered it (via Erik Smith), impromptu changes and all:

1 comment:

  1. Passionate passing comments for the departed. Buried and gone.