Judgement of Paris

Turning points, our lives are filled with them.  More often than not they go unnoticed because it is generally the minor decisions that lead to bigger consequences.  Quite often this makes it hard to pinpoint where the turning point actually was. 

I recently ran across a movied called “Bottle Shock.”  The movie dramatizes the wine tasting set up by Steven Spurrier in 1976.  US wines from California versus French wines in a blind tasting by French vinophiles.  More so, the tasting took place in France.  Needless to say the deck was stacked considerably against the American vintners.  Against all odds the US wines came out on top. 

Of course this caused a bit of a quibble (though it was not highly publicized).  The tasting was done 3 more times over the past 30(ish) years.  Even through claims of subjectivity and they even the same judges would not agree on the same wines, the US wines still climbed to the top.  Imagine, the greatest wine culture in the world surpassed by upstarts, many of whom had only been making wine for a couple years. 

This was a major turning point.  Prohibition had seriously damaged the fermented beverage culture of the US.  We saw it with both beer and wine.  Before the “Judgement of Paris” the vinculture of the US consisted mostly of “jug wine.”  The wines were not taken seriously.  Of course some smart asses in Napa decided that they wanted to make something a bit more than the status quo.  It can be amazing when you step out just a bit more than what you might have thought you were capable of.

The craft beer culture has a somewhat different “Judgement” to surpass.  Mass lager is akin to the “jug wine” culture but with one exception.  The mass campaign of advertising big beer has been able to inundate the world with, means that this is the face the world knows for beer in the US.  It makes you wonder, what may one day be seen as the turning point that leads to mass apeal of craft.  Or will it continue a path of slowly finding inroads into the mainstream? 

Time for a pint…    

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