My dear, sweet Brother Barley recently opined that Brew Dog has gone the way of the Fonz vis a vis “The End of History” – a 55% ABV monster tucked into taxidermied roadkill. The Professor readily agreed. Angry words were exchanged. Fists were thrown. A good cry was had by all. In the jury room of Aleheads opinion, therefore, your Baron shall undertake the role of Bob Cummings.
While I’m completely opposed to gimmicks, I’m not at all opposed to novelty. In this case I think it’s hard to call “The End of History” strictly a marketing gimmick because it’s just too damn expensive to be viable from a marketing perspective. Will media buzz have a residual effect of increasing sales of Brew Dog’s cheaper offerings? Maybe. I’d be curious to know whether Utopias increased sales of Sam Adams. I tend to doubt it. It’s hard to imagine someone picking up a sixer of Punk IPA just because they read about a squirrel-stuffed 55% ABV monster in their regional newspaper. A hot babe in fishnets is a better bet by far. If The End of History is intended to be a marketing gimmick, it’s a risky one at best.
As such, I’m inclined to give Brew Dog the benefit of the doubt on this one. These guys really aren’t a mainstream brewery and I don’t think they intend to become the next Goose or Sam. To the contrary, they strike me as ::huge:: beer nerds having a lot of fun with a chemistry lab (and circus costumes). By analogy, not everyone is going to be a fan of molecular gastronomy, but I’m not about to take a diatribe against Grant Achatz seriously. Alinea is pure genius, love it or hate it. Why not push the envelope when you have the resources to do so?
“The End of History?” Ballsy. Notwithstanding that Fukuyama was nuts-out wrong, the bravado implied is just outstanding: “This is to beer what democracy is to history.” I spent a year of my life as an undergrad picking Fukuyama’s thesis apart. Like I said – huge, ::huge:: nerds. Bless their hearts. The squirrel? Truly hilarious. Come on. They bottled a fucking squirrel. That’s charming. It’s performance art meets beer. Do I want to pay $750 for a brew? No. Do I want to try a 55% beer? Not especially. But I like that someone out there is playing with ideas, taking risks, and having some fun to boot. If a little radicalism – no matter how foolish – hurts some people’s opinions of the craft brewing movement, so be it. They were fair weather fans at best. If it emboldens enemies of liberty and takes the piss out of prohibitionists, let’s help Brew Dog take up the sword. A little revolution now and then is a good thing. I say: let the slow clap begin here.