“It’s just beer” is a mantra screamed into the social void daily. Its believers just want to enjoy a beer in peace, to escape the world for a damn second.
The problem is, it isn’t just beer. Beer is both an artisanal and commercial product. Craft is a social construct. Small batch brewing is a way of life, its marketing often an act of rebellion. So drinking it is a statement whether you want it to be or not. What we drink, where we drink it, how it gets there, and what we pay are all infused with politics.
So what happens when a brand embraces that by stamping its beliefs on its cans, or plastering them on their social media, or making viral campaigns preaching to their customers? Should a company be allowed to do that? And on the flip side, do they have a responsibility to do so?
My guests today believe this decision is made for them by the juxtaposition of their beliefs and the way the world is heading. Save for their anti-Trump beer, Ben Duckworth and Steve Grae of South London’s Affinity Brew Co don’t cram their left-wing ideas down people’s throats. But anyone with a passing interest in British politics will note the roses on their cans and Labour Party slogans that make up many of their beer names. In doing so, they hope to encourage friendly debate and keep politics at the forefront of drinkers’ minds during one of the greatest political upheavals in British history.
Inside their beautiful cans and bubbling through their Belgian-inspired session beers there is even more room critical thought—the responsibilities of a brewer to moderate alcohol levels, regulate serving sizes, and to challenge the government’s approach to alcohol licensing.
But first lets just talk about beer. This is Ben Duckworth and Steve Grae of Affinity Brew Co. Listen in.