Master-blogger and master-brewer Phil Cook and I agree about one thing: we both love the idea of a brewer in residence.
Boundary Road have invited over a well-known US brewer, and he has produced a special “Resident” ale. Kinda like an artist-in-residence. I love the idea of exchange of ideas, I love the idea of a special, unique edition ale, and I especially love the celebration of the craft which is implied in bigging up your brewer.
But is it just a clever marketing ploy?
As Phil cuttingly points out, Boundary Road is the craft-a-like brand in a serious commercial portfolio. It’s owned by a mass producer of alcoholic beverages (Independent Liquor), now owned overseas. Their beers look fab, but aren’t lovingly hand-made in someone’s garage.
Does big = bad?
Then again, don’t we want our businesses to have success and grow? Isn’t that a result of Kiwis buying (and presumably liking) their product?
I love the excitement and passion that goes into the products of a new start-up, but I also love the professionalism that goes into the products of a successful company. I don’t seem to have as much built-in suspicion of big companies as many around me do. I certainly don’t believe that as soon as you work for a big company you lose all integrity. Innovation, passion and genius reside in corporations as well as one-man-bands.
Of course, knowing that people don’t like the idea of factory-produced food these days, companies usually keep quiet about their size.
In praise of clever marketing
So, yes, this is a clever marketing ploy. I like my marketing clever. It increases my enjoyment of products.
Good ideas taste good. If you don’t believe me, have a look at what happens inside your brain when you know you’re drinking coca-cola, compared to when you’re drinking it but you don’t know which cola it is.
So Phil is both right and wrong. Right in that Boundary Road pretends to be a craft beer and isn’t. Wrong in that this is necessarily a bad thing.
And the beer?
This certainly isn’t your slug-and-forget, please-all-palates, pint-o-piss. It hits the taste buds running. I can imagine it being great with strong cheddar munchies when you’re on holiday with mates. I’m an ale-drinker, but I have to admit, this one had a little too much character for me to drink every day.
I’d be interested to hear what an ale guru thinks of it.