“Cheap Beer Is Bad” – A Tough Sell for the Washington Monthly

Now there is a difficult position to defend.

The fine folks at the Washington Monthly have taken a stand so hard to defend it belongs in a high school debate tournament — “RESOLVED: That cheap beer is bad and we should make it more expensive.”

Good luck with that one, guys.

It’s an interesting article, and well worth your time for its overview of beer corporation mergers in America, so take the five minutes to click through and read it. Kind of hard to wrap your brain around the idea that Sam Adams is a craft beer underdog, isn’t it? Sad sign of the times for America.

But I suspect the article would find a wider — and more sympathetic — audience if it adopted more of an anti-monopolist tone rather than the screechy, moralizing catalog of beer-drinking harms ravaging the U.K. right now, with the insinuation that America could soon follow. Any article using 18th-century temperance engravings to emphasize their point (they get the title wrong, too) is probably going to come across a little too finger-wagging for any beer-drinker’s taste.

And if they’re not trying to reach beer-drinkers, who are they trying for?

I’m mostly sharing this with you as an object lesson in persuasive writing. If you want people to agree to pay more for something, don’t start by implying that they’re bad people already for buying it at the current prices.

Kudos to theĀ Monthly for doing some decent research. With what they had, this could have been a good piece about the InBev march to monopoly, and what consumers can do to help promote a diverse and thriving beer market.

Too bad it wasn’t.

 

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