Encouraging, I think.

I know this guy who fancies himself a connoisseur of “indie rock.”

“Indie Rock” for those readers without horn-rimmed glasses and trucker hats, is DIY, small-batch rock music which is produced outside the mainstream of the big music companies, often by the bands themselves. Occasionally, some indie bands click with mainstream listeners and gain a big national following.

It’s at this point where the true “indie rockers” sever all ties with that band, because they “sold out.” The subejct of this long-winded and over-elaborate analogy refuses to listen to any band with any following whatsoever, taking the greatest delight in his ability to drop the names of hundreds of obscure garage-groups whose shows draw a sum total of three people (4, if you count the bartender), and thus demonstrate to other people their lack of knowledge and unworthiness to converse with him about music.

Sound like any beer lovers you know?

While there’s still a set of obtuse beer elitists whose true joy comes from knowing more beer esoterica than the average Joe, the embracing of craft beer by the general public means their per capita numbers are dwindling. And that’s encouraging.

It’s encouraging to see women in their early twenties stride confidently up to a bartender and order an IPA. It’s encouraging to see bartenders who can tell you the difference between the our kinds of porter on draft. It’s heartening to walk into a 7-11 and be faced with a choice of ten different beers from your own state.

But, as the indie rockers will tell you, there’s also a twinge of ironic regret. And I do kinda feel bad for the elitists. It’s like they had this special club; this thing that brought them together, albeit to the exclusion of others, and now the doors have been thrown wide open and every douchebag in a sweater vest is developing that formerly privileged knowledge of beer styles and nuances.

But, at the end of the day, this mass interest is what will ensure that “craft beer” is an industry, not a fad, and that we’ll always have the sweet volume of choice we have now. it’s what will eventually make the USA the greatest beer nation on Earth.

If that’s selling out, where do I sign?

-Mark

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6 thoughts on “Encouraging, I think.

  1. I think what you described isn’t someone into indie rock. You described an asshole. Nice try though and thanks for perpetuating the stigma surrounding music outside of the mainstream.

  2. Haha, “douchebags in sweater vests,” that’s a great quote. Also, as a long-time indie rock fan, I mostly agree with your analogy though I do find myself still enjoying a few of my favorite bands long after they “sold out.” For instance: Spoon, Modest Mouse, and Interpol. Mostly though, indie bands can’t break through unless they change their style and turn into crap. For instance: Get-Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World. Then again, Tim is also correct because I am an asshole.

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