Most brewers dress like the manliest men around- lumberjacks. Nothing is more manly than a big beard, long hair and red flannel. This gives the industry a distinct image that I think the community has done well to embrace. Brewing has been part of the menaissance, the rebirth of the manly men of our grandfather's generation. Its one of those jobs where you have to use your hands, and really get dirty. Its not for metro men of the early 2000s or well dressed club hoppers of the 90s. Even with this new distinct personal image, beer geeks are constantly telling people that beer is just as high end as wine. If craft beer really wants to start competing with wine in fine dinning restaurants is it necessary to clean up the image?
No matter what job we're doing, no matter who we are around, we are always selling ourselves. Does the beer community do a good job of selling themselves to the public? If we don't feel obligated to sell ourselves to the average Joe, then how can we expect to gain market share?
This doesn't mean that I'm saying all the brewers of Indiana need to shave and buy a suit. I get it, they didn't go into banking, they went into brewing. Believe me, there are days when I'm jealous. Craft beer is more laid back and it's important that the brewers represent their culture, but at the same point a comb and some clean (unbrewed in) clothes would go a long way when making public appearances. Michael and Shane from Daredevil always look professional and well put together. Nick from the up and coming Scarlet Lane Brewing Co. explained that he tries to dress to his audience. Not every day can be a tee shirt and hoodie kind of a day, and right now I don't think all the brewers see it that way.
On some level it's sad to say that appearance changes the way people think about not just you, but your brewery and your beer, but it's true. Normally, though, it's a change for the better. It's not about people being overly snobbish or judgemental, it's just the way we process things. We like to create categories and then use them to organize our experiences with people, places, and things. It's human nature.
If it were up to you to present craft beer to brand new audience, how would you present it, and would you be conscious of the way you were dressed while doing it?