Whether you like what they’re saying or not, it’s undeniable that the BC Beer Memes Instagram account has a voice in the BC craft beer scene. Gaining nearly 4000 followers in just 6 months by “meme dumping” with consistent regularity and sharing their opinions, often with brutal honesty. Their indiscriminate targeting of all manner of people and industry, their cutting posts, and their involved level of insight into BC craft beer have led many people to speculate: Who is BC Beer Memes?
So, as a service to the BC craft beer market, we decided to undertake some reconnaissance work to find out more about BC Beer Memes. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to pry the mask and cape off of our mysterious memer, so no identities were revealed during our interview. However, we did chat about a spectrum of topics: from their most hated trends to more philosophical topics like, What is the BC Beer Memes origin story? And what’s in store for the BC craft beer landscape in 2020? While we don’t agree with all their sentiments, we do respect their “warts and all” view of an industry that they clearly care about.
Let’s get into the interview.
Victoria Beer Society: You started your meme page on July 28th 2019. What is the BC Beer Memes origin story? Why now? What straw broke the camels back? Had the page been brewing up for a while like a well conditioned lager? Or did you churn it out like a buttery diacetyl packed ale?
BC Beer Memes: First off this feels like a Miss America interview, some of these questions are kinda rinky dinky and fluffy but I guess that’s where the common listener is at in BC for the beer game!
There was not a particular watershed moment that led to the creation of the page. But to play into your metaphor, I suppose the origin is more akin to well-conditioned lager. Being in and out of the industry and a “Craft” Beer Lover, a lot of the issues tackled on the page is common talk around the industry. Everybody is trying to make their buck off this so-called craft industry, and after hearing and seeing some of the wonky practices being dealt it seemed fit that an internet based response was the best way to comment and still let the world (BC) decide for themselves what to listen to or not. It was pretty quick and the internet decided the fate of the page in a short period of time.
Originally, I came across BCwinememes (need to give that POS a shout out or will never hear the end of it), that GUY/Girl, whoever they are, were speaking out about a lot of crazy industry centric situations in public that was resonating with the wine community. They stood their strong stance on the topics presented and that was very credible (ie. drinking Oculus with Coke). The groundwork already laid by pages such as dontdrinkbeers and bcwinememes helped establish the fact that there was perhaps a market within BC craft beer for a silly meme page.
You’ve been very vocal about areas of the BC brewing landscape that need improving. Eg. Pay to play, lazy bar managers, marketing trends that need to die. What does the ideal BC craft beer landscape look like to you?
This is a bit of a loaded question, and this answer will be filled with pipe dreams, but I will attempt to be MODERATELY succinct. A good beer scene has relatively low barriers to entry from a governmental/bureaucratic point of view. There should be room for a full spectrum of producers, in terms of production capacity. This is where BC’s market is pretty interesting and kind of messed up. The BC beer Mission statement was always to run BIG BEER out. However, with the fast growth of the industry, it seems like this world is about your survival and not about the beer. The practices to bring down the AB inBevs of the world turned into bringing down the fellow “craft” brewer instead and it is more dog eat dog than ever.
We have plenty of breweries that compete on the municipal, regional, national and international stage. Big isn’t necessarily bad, but goddamn, the quality still has to be there, and that’s where too many don’t live up to the expectations of what “craft beer” is supposed to be. We all say “craft” is better, but there are plenty of sub-par craft beer options out there, and frankly, the further out it goes the more the quality suffers, and that’s purely from the realities of shipping volatile product far away.
In short, a decent beer scene consists of a multitude of players (NOT infinite) operating in a free market, with plenty of cold storage and shipping solutions to retailers and on-premise licensees that operate with integrity, and respect for product and producers.
If you could relocate any brewery in the world to BC who would it be and why?
The whole nostalgia/charm/stigma of a brewery is where it dwells. Great Notion is Great because of the personality Portland brings to it. The trek to Cantillon is a pilgrimage/right of passage for those who love and respect what they have done throughout over a century. Steel and Oak is in New West lol. Hill Farmstead, Jester King, Fremont, Treehouse, The Veil, Cloudwater, Brewsky, Tilquin and so on, are all who they are because of where they are, if they were anywhere else they would not be that. With the lovely “Craft” Collective Factory in our backyard, we have clearly seen that trying to recreate a brewery here from far away is not all it’s cracked up to be.
You love to make fun of trending styles. What trend in BC craft beer do you hate the most? And what trend (if any) do you secretly love?
Hate: Kettle sours with Fruit (Strawberry mostly, there should be a law about putting that in beer in BC, sorry Tristan). The whole adjunct thing is really becoming an issue TBH. Pastry stouts, fruit in Wheat beers, all the BS is creating a whole Basic soccer mom vibe and 9 out of 10 adjunct beers are a useless waste of money. In my unholy opinion. Any brewery that just throws bad beer in a barrel and waits it out for a future release can burn. With everyone and their sister starting up a barrel program these days, as a consumer, I’d be very conscious of sussing out who is being strategic and who is being bandwagonney. If that’s a word. Also, any brewery pursuing the low-cal, light beer trend should just quit before they get left in the dust.
Love: the trend of Dageraad lol. That Brewery can do no wrong. Honestly not one for trends, if you make a good product, then the money is yours. If your Gose is balanced with a nice balance of salt, tart and a fuller flavour from the wine grapes you fisted in there, then a repurchase might be in order.
Experimentation is cool, and throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks is cool; as long as the thought process behind smacking ingredients together makes sense. If you just couldn’t wait for the yeast to eat all the sugars from your quintuple dry-hopped IPA with hops nobody knows about cause you already printed the labels and needed to start a new IPA in the brew schedule then down the drain it goes!
If you could turn any building in BC into a brewery, which would it be?
Maybe the one fuggles and warlock are in IDK. Kidding. Sort of. I’m going to have to go with Science World.
What do you think is going to be the next big thing in BC beer?
Besides the loss of some really great breweries, hmmm maybe hard seltzer?? Seems more sustainable than Spirits. There is a lot to explore in the world of Kveik yeasts, and I hope breweries continue to push the boundaries in that realm. Hazy IPA is here to stay for 2020, but there should definitely be a higher focus on balancing the best of both worlds of “East Coast” and “West Coast” style IPA.
There are obviously a lot of players in the game at this point. Hundreds of breweries, festivals, tap houses, brewing publications, etc. So who’s doing it right?
The ones who are making money, I guess. We are all in the money-making industry so if you are making it, then maybe you’re doing it right, or you are just Foss who has butt tuns of money and doesn’t have to worry about it. But, there is also a difference between who is doing it right, and who is doing it successfully. Monetarily speaking. Nickelback makes lots of money, and everyone still hates them. The opinion of this page on who is doing it right really doesn’t matter. There are 5.1 million people residing in BC minus the Celiacs… that’s a lot of beer drinkers. If I said that Driftwood is doing it right that would only really resonate with like 5 people (JK), but it would start a colossal outpour of angry nerds. Is Superflux doing it right? Who knows?
You have obviously gotten the attention of a lot of the influencers in the industry. Arguably becoming one yourself. Now that the industry is listening, do you have an end game or goal? Or is your page derived from more of a Joker: “some men just like to watch the world burn” sort of philosophy?
The primary goal of the page was for a self-sufficient supply of shits and giggles. If anyone else gets a laugh out of it, then that is fine too. I suppose, the real goal is to have industry folk take a step back and look at where they belong on the tapestry and decide whether they are happy with that position or not. For non-industry folk, I hope there is also laughter as well as maybe a touch of enlightenment in the sense that we shouldn’t blindly praise everything just because it is craft. Holding breweries to a higher standard of accountability for their product is more important than ever as the industry continues to grow.
Any predictions for what 2020 holds in store for the BC craft beer landscape?
Again, besides great breweries shutting down? I am noticing more and more Beer Share pages out there. Lots of people have reached out to the page asking similar questions here today, and are seeking truths about an industry they care about. People are gaining more access to worldly quality products and are being able to make their own decision on what “Craft” Beer should be. So I am interested to see how that affects BC Beer sales.
Also, every year we seem to make slight improvements on the provincial level towards eradicating archaic laws and regs, and enabling more flexibility and freedom for producers to market and sell the way they see fit. I hope that continues into 2020.
Will you ever hang up your cape and mask? What is your exit strategy?
Man, really want a cape now. If it gets less funny to put out these memes it will be over, even if Murder Toad, Sadrock, and Russell are still around.
Ever seen how The Sopranos ended? Hoping to go out that way.
Thanks to BCBeerMemes for indulging us. If you want to check out the BCBeerMemes account for yourself, you can find them on Instagram.