Writer Stephen Beaumont has proposed a month dedicated to the beers that keep a brewery going.
Back in 2015, I wrote an article titled “5 Classic Craft Beers That Should Not Be Forgotten.” The piece was intended to pay tribute to some of the brews that had influenced my taste buds during my two-decade-long drinking journey, but it also tipped its hat to a growing trend: craft beer diehards’ quest for novelty was leaving a lot of classic beers in the dust. For my efforts in penning the heartfelt piece, I was greeted with comments to the effect of “Is this a paid advertisement?” It was not, but I appreciate the skepticism.
My experience is not unique. And now, a fellow beer writer has decided to address these flighty attitudes. Stephen Beaumont has launched a campaign called “Flagship February.” “Flagship beers are down in sales across the board because drinkers get bored,” he began in a pair of tweets last week. “In the spirit of alliteration, how about we make next month Flagship February!?! The focus would be on drinking faves from the early years, not necessarily exclusively, but frequently. The brands would get a boost and drinkers would be reminded of what got them here.”
Since those initial tweets, interest in the concept started to grow: A handful of bars have committed to the idea, and the hashtag #FlagshipFebruary is beginning to gain some traction. Then, a couple days ago, Beaumont made the official proclamation: “#FlagshipFebruary is on!” he tweeted.
That same day, Beaumont fleshed out his thoughts in an article with Forbes. “A lot of beer drinkers have developed a sort of ADD with respect to the beers they drink, so going for a glass of beer at the bar or pub becomes less a pleasant distraction and more a relentless search for what’s new and exciting,” he was quoted as saying. “In this mad rush towards the unusual and unknown, we tend to forget the great, familiar and still-wonderful beers that guided us all along the path to the craft beer renaissance.”
Beaumont stressed there’s no real standard for taking part in the month. For now, it’s more of a grassroots movement. And he also said that this goes beyond simply honoring the classics: Any brewery still willing to have a flagship beer should consider taking part. “I think that it’s a matter of intent rather than age,” he added.
Of course, if history has taught me anything, someone out there is thinking, “Is this a paid advertisement?” And frankly, I get where those people are coming from. Many of my favorite breweries don’t even have a traditional flagship beer. Am I suddenly supposed to avoid them for an entire month? But the point doesn’t even have to be about literal imbibing (though the sales certainly help). Instead, it’s about raising awareness. Here’s how I would sum it up: You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone, and if we as beer lovers completely abandon the classics, eventually they will be gone whether we like it or not.