Rogue representative: The black beer snob

With the demographic landscape of the United States rapidly changing, many businesses are looking for ways to expand their customer base. The craft beer industry is rudely late to the soirée, which is shocking considering the ongoing theme of independence and community building. Nonetheless, some breweries have sought to employ social media influencers to introduce their brands to different faces. While a Mediocre Michael is not likely to galvanize a potential customer base on behalf of craft beer, or any other entity for that matter, what happens when a brewery chooses a black beer snob to fill this role in the name of diversity? Surprisingly, many breweries find this to be a viable solution to its issues with inclusion. It’s not, and here are 5 reasons why:

5. Beer snobs promote exclusion.

That’s right! Your initiative to promote inclusion is likely to be counterproductive. Beer snobs

of all ethnicities indiscriminately divulge their “knowledge,” opinions, and preferences on

unsuspecting novices and experts alike without regard for the interests of the recipients of their word vomit. They are not looking to bring new people in – they’re looking to flex their

superiority, and as a result, gain popularity and the perks that come along with it. A community can’t be uplifted using people who are trying to set themselves apart from it – building requires bringing people together. Folks out for themselves will never be a viable solution to issues with diversity, or anything else for that matter. Next.

4. Beer snobs are uneducated and misinformed about beer.

Yeah. I said it. I’ve listened to enough monologues about different types of hops to believe

that beer is made of one ingredient – almost. The snobbery continues with photos of beer in

incorrect and dirty branded glasses, bashing of well-made beer that is not “independent,” and standing in inordinately long lines for adjunct and additive-laden beer that is riddled with off flavors. Miseducation is not a good look when attempting to work your way into a community. Furthermore, using a black person to promote a subject about which he or she is uninformed perpetuates the stereotype that black folks are uneducated – which is an issue that transcends the realm of craft beer. Don’t do it.

3. Beer snobs favor rarity over consistency.

What a shame. Your well-made flagship beer has the potential to be labeled as a “shelf turd”

and could end up passed over in favor of your experimental brew that Trevor threw in the

fermenter over the weekend during his free time without writing the recipe down. If you have

a beer snob as an ambassador, you’ll likely attract beer snobs as customers, and they’re only as loyal as the latest hyped up, limited-release $40 four-pack of fruit-flavored candy, vanilla

milkshake, [insert “cool” hops here] IPA that you can dream up. Unless you plan to run a

brewery centered around limited release slushy beer, which is not advisable, a long-term

relationship with a beer snob as a brand promoter is highly unlikely, let alone lucrative. Folks

like this will be wherever the next trend is, even if it’s something other than beer.

Another equally important point: a new craft beer drinker is seldomly going to be down for

standing in an hour(s) long line or paying $40 for a beverage in which they are only marginally interested at this point. That’s goes double for a lot of black folks. If you want to reach us, the product needs to be incorporated into our normal activities. Beer is something we pick up from the corner store. Hard pass.

2. Beer snobs are annoying.

And intimidating. Folks don’t want to listen to a pretentious know-it-all blabber on about

something in which they are only marginally interested, and it doesn’t help when the word

vomit is full of fallacies. Beer is supposed to be a communal concoction, but it’s hard to bring

people together when a beer snob is selected as the glue. Beer is complex, but presenting it

that way to a new beer drinker is likely a turn-off (queue the wine industry).

We don’t enlist failed mathematics majors to teach calculus and differential equations to

people looking to learn arithmetic, and just like math, we shouldn’t employ undereducated

beer “experts” to introduce beer to newcomers. The approach has to take the potential beer drinker’s palate and current consumption habits into consideration to present an appropriate gateway option, which a beer snob is ill-equipped to do. We want something we can share with our folks while we enjoy each other’s company – something we can pass out at the next kick-back or take to the cook-out on Labor Day weekend. We don’t want to hear monologues about the twelve different types of hops in your alcoholic milkshake. Spare us.

1. Beer snobs are not in touch with the community.

We’ve all seen it. The huge influx of snobs for can releases. The use of proxies to snatch up

beer from other states for resale on the secondary market. Bottle shares of people’s favorite

rare, non-shelf turd beer slushy beverages. None of these are activities that serve the greater

community, especially when that community is a black one. If you’re looking to reach people of any marginalized group, the person you use as an ambassador has to regularly be found at places that are frequented by members of said group. Outreach can’t come from a black

person who enjoys, or is comfortable with, being the only minority in the room. The black

community won’t be influenced by people who don’t love our community – especially out of

touch black folks. If you ain’t riding with us, we won’t hesitate to show you the door. Bye


You do a disservice to the black community by choosing an out-of-touch token to promote your product. An ambassador to link the two communities has to be a member of both, and

choosing a person who is well-equipped to relate and serve as your boots on the ground should not be dismissed in finding a liaison. Building a community is about bringing people together and bringing good to the collective, and a rouge token doesn’t support that initiative. There are several approaches to diversify your consumer base, but employing a black beer snob is not one of them.

- Toni

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