"At this point I discovered that... has fans, in the same way that pop stars have fans: diligent and thankless defenders of the faith who have no truck with naysayers or unbelievers"These fans display
"...a patronising superiority [that] certainly speaks of a passion that might be lauded were it not so blind."They are loyal and prepared to defend the work they admire, so that a new release meant
"...a force field was created [and] dissent was quickly and violently repelled."This included monstering critics, by
"...making full use of... internet forums to anonymously smear... professional reputations."Other critics observed that to criticise is to "park oneself beneath the cyber gunge tank".
The author was Andrew Collins in the Radio Times, who was talking about fans of film-maker Christopher Nolan, but I was struck by how this description could be applied to some brewers. Most notably in this country, a certain punk collective in Aberdeenshire, whose 'fans' sycophantically laud every marketing stunt and new release, and will attack dissent and criticism.
Collins notes that "the internet makes it easier for communities to grow up around individuals". In the US craft brewing scene, it's clear that some brewers have been so successful at this, that they are synonymous with the beers they brew in the eyes of fans and drinkers. This extends to the fan communities that drink beers and congregate online.
Is a Cult Of Personality a Good Thing for craft beer? Are figureheads and 'celebrities', lightning rods to attract new drinkers? Or should the beers speak for themselves?