Monday, August 18, 2014

Positive Thinking in the Food & Drink Industry

I think everyone would agree that positive thinking is good, but who actually practices it?  I know I am one of the worst offenders, making mountains out of mole hills at times. Over the last 3 or 4 years, I feel as if there has been a very sharp and sudden downturn of positive thinking, especially when it comes to the food industry.  I'm including craft beer in this because I think that as well as local restaurants, which are under constant critiquing, the local craft breweries are under a very tough microscope.

I usually try to be careful with the words 'Critique' and 'Criticize.' With food and beer being highly trendy today and much of the masses entranced with the highly-critical television personalities such as Gordon Ramsey, Robert Irvine, and John Taffer (yes I use the Oxford comma!) the public has apparently adopted this highly-critical attitude as well. It's a good thing and a bad thing, but certainly needs to be used selectively.
The idea that I'm getting at is that along with a more curious and open-minded "foodie" comes falsely-earned pretentiousness if you're not careful. Many people have become food critics without realizing that their opinions can really hurt a business if they're negative and they don't really help if they are positive. (Thanks, Yelp!) Pro critics critique, not just criticize and they are just as quick to offer praise as they are criticism. The average self-nominated social critic is not, which allows them to temporarily claim an otherwise-undeserved expertise in the eyes of their peers.

Getting back to the beer side of things, I hear a lot of people jumping to negative conclusions about breweries and beers without giving a chance for the positive ones to kick in. The most common one is "they just don't 'wow' me." I hear people dismiss a beer or even an entire brewery with an arrogant nonchalance without even giving time for their palate to taste the complex flavors that go into each beer. To these breweries, these beers are their livelihood and are not to be taken lightly.  Rest assured that if someone invested their life's savings in a multi-million dollar brewing operation, a lot of time and effort went into that glass of beer.

I'm not asking that you like every beer.  I just think that we need a "reset" button to get back towards positive thinking as well as constructive criticism. Taste your beer or your food and look for the good in it, not just the bad. That positive thinking will allow you and those around you to have a better experience and enjoy your evening a little more. You may just find that everything you eat and drink starts to taste better. It's much easier to tear something down than to build it up. Take the high road (<-- Badger Hill reference) and become a part of the positive change that this industry needs. We need to support these businesses if we want this craft beer boom to be a permanent one.

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