Fifteen Good Ones
by Fred Eckhardt
The California Celebrator was certainly among the earliest of the new generation of "free" brewspapers. Such publications are common these days, but when Bret Nickels started the paper back in 1988, it was a fairly new idea. Such newspaper-style publications were to be a major factor in the success or failure of the new generation of "micro" brewers. Brewspapers were a driving force because they were educating the new beer (and wine AND hard-liquor) drinkers about what to expect from the new genre of brewers.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]Back then, the BudMillerCoors folks had already seized American beer and were changing the very nature of the beverage. Light beer had only recently become popular. Who knew that this travesty of beer would, all too soon, become the world's most popular beer type, spreading even into the wilds of Britain and Germany?
My first submission to Bret Nickels (November 13, 1989) was a diatribe about the MADD mothers who were then, as they are now, leading the onslaught of the government against the average drinker who causes little or no problem to society. These folks were then, as they are now, ignoring the problem drinker in favor of attacking the average drinker. As I pointed out at that time: "Only a very small percentage of those who use alcohol actually do abuse it." The more things change, the more they stay the same!
When Tom Dalldorf took the helm at the California Celebrator, he changed the name to the Celebrator Beer News. He was going national at a time when the total number of microbreweries could be counted on one's digits. OK, so we'd have to use a few other body items to cover the scene, but it wasn't a very big movement quite yet.
Just the same, I liked the idea and I liked Tom's chutzpah. I knew he'd be fun to work with (despite a propensity to consume wine on the job), and starting with the April/May 1991 issue, I've been on these pages babbling on, sometimes at length and sometimes incoherently, but with fair regularity. It's been a blast.
During the Celebrator's 15 years, the beer scene has vastly improved. Today there are few areas in the country where one cannot at least get a glass of Sam Adams. In the West there has almost been a revolution, most of which has been brought about by brewspapers such as the Celebrator. The main mission of such publications has been to educate the public about the wide and wonderful nature of craft beer, as it has now come to be called. Without this education, the craft-brewing movement would have been severely limited, and we might have been forced to imbibe Bud Light and others of like ilk, or even switch to the wretched malternatives such as Tequiza or Zima. Ugh!
Let us all raise a toast to America's beer publications. Prost! Cheers!
Fred Eckhardt is getting old in Portland, Ore., and is working for a regime change in Ireland to save that country's stout fields, which have 70 percent of the world's stout.
Copyright 2003, Celebrator No material herein may be reprinted without permission of the Celebrator Distributed On the W3 For personal, non-commercial enjoyment and use only. Cheers!
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