Last week Andy Crouch wrote a very interesting piece entitled "Death of the Flagship", looking at how the craft beer industry, for want of a better phrase, seems to be moving away from having a flagship brand to having lots of seasonals and rotations. If you didn't read it already, once you are finished reading this, then head on over.
The reason I mention Andy's post is that I am on my annual holiday in Florida. As I type this post I am looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, watching early risers like Mrs V and I stroll along the shore, and thinking that perhaps I should be sensible today on the laying in the sun front. From a beer perspective, whenever I come to Daytona Beach, I am so glad for the very flagship beers mentioned in Andy's post, Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
On the first afternoon of our week here, we always go to Walmart to stock up on food for the week and I get my first stash of beer. The Daytona Beach Walmart has a pathetic beer selection, let's be honest here. I think they have every conceivable shade of BMC lager and then a token "craft" selection of some Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada, and so that is my choice, and this year it was a case of Pale Ale which worked its way into the fridge.
This is why having flagships like Boston Lager and Pale Ale is important for the industry, because of their near ubiquity, their acceptance within the larger world. Knowing that I can get a good, tasty, well made beer without having to traipse my wife's parents half way round the city is a good thing as far as I am concerned. Perhaps I am just not a genuine beer lover in that I really am not such a zealot as to afflict those around me with needless trips to obscure shops when we are on holiday. Admittedly when it is just Mrs V and I we do go looking for out of the way places, but that's because she is incredibly indulgent of me and should be sainted by whatever secular humanist organisation would hand out such gongs.
Anyway, this week will be spent raising bottles of hoppy American Pale Ale to those pioneers of good tasty beer, long may they prosper!