craft beer, Uncategorized

The Parallels between Craft Beer and Sneaker Culture

“Five minutes to go…
2 minutes…
10 seconds…
Alright, let’s get this bid in.
Dang it. I lost. Outbid again…”
When I was in college this was a typical routine. Scouring through endless pages of Ebay listings. Searching obscure names like “Bowerman shoes” or “Nike track shoes”. Adjusting my search constantly in order to hopefully catch a break and win shoes at a fraction of the cost from some clueless parent liquidating her son’s “old junk” without his knowledge. Deadstock OG Steaks or Marathoners from 2008 for 30 bucks a pair, copped that (The former I’m still using almost 6 years later). My collection grew and grew, to the point where at its peak I probably had over 50 pairs of just racing shoes. I was in deep and I knew it.
Then I was introduced to sneaker culture and I realized that I was just playing on the surface; the rabbit hole was deep and it was cutthroat.
In the couple months hanging with my college teammate I was shown just a tidbit of what the scene was like. Some of it was fairly similar to my experience, taking photos of new pairs and updated collections or hitting the various forums looking at the For Sale/For Trade posts or discussing the next releases. Other things were completely different to me. While the majority of people involved were simply enthusiasts, for some, this was business. Camping overnight for the latest releases only to flip them for profit was a regular thing. Counterfeits ran rampant across this scene and I learned to spot fakes. I distinctly remember heading to LA for a sale with a muscle tagging along; in this scene it was not uncommon to see people get robbed. It’s a luxury item, and unfortunately as with all luxury items, there are always people looking to take advantage.
Recently I found myself looking through Ebay again. I’ve been out of the game for almost 5 years now but with my Streaks on their last legs I’ve been trying to find a replacement for my road races. I stumbled upon an article about pairs of Promo Nike Zoom Fly Off Whites. The online sale was set for the following week.
“Just when I thought I was out… They pull me back in…”
I thought this would be easy, I’m become somewhat of a master with these things through this whole beer thing.
A tickets for Dark Lord Day? Check.
Fundamental Observation? Check. 
Duck Duck Gooze? Took a couple times but… Check. 
I have trained for this, no way I’m losing.
“Ah you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it.”
I struck out. And instantly I saw pairs going for double retail. I looked to twitter to see people complaining about it all.
“I’m never doing this again.” 
“Why would they treat their loyal customers like this?”
“Everyone is cheating and I’ll never win.”
This looked familiar…
Oh right, this is craft beer.
Craft beer isn’t just an emerging fad anymore and from the looks of it, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. It seems like every place you go to you’ll see some kind of craft beer on tap. Chain Restaurants, bowling alleys, hell, you can even get it on tap on some airlines. Everyone I know seems to be drinking it now and new people from my past keep coming out of the woodwork, jumping real deep into this scene quickly.
When something gets this popular it’s only a matter of time until it brings out the worst in people and things get out of control.
Websites going down from the sheer amount of traffic for a limited release. Grown men lining up before noon on Thanksgiving Day for a chance at getting Bourbon County the next morning. Lines wrapped around blocks in NYC for a couple of cans of IPAs. People flying out to Anchorage Alaska for a chance to get sets of A Deal with the Devil (#BIL). You would think that after all that investment people would at least drink the beer right? Nope. Just like the sneaker scene, these are instantly being flipped, sold for maxprofits or traded for something they can’t get their hands on. Then you have those people that seem to only have these beers as a sort of status symbol. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the same people post a picture of a rare bottle that they probably kiss before they go to bed each night hoping to get the approval of some stranger from Naperville, Illinois.
“But it’s nowhere near as crazy as the sneaker scene.” 
You’re right, no one is currently getting shot or stabbed for beer, well at least not yet. This scene is quickly running off the rails though. In the past couple years I’ve seen some ridiculous antics all for the sake of an alcoholic beverage. People recapping and waxing bottles of beer with the intention of swindling some unsuspecting pour fool out of their beer. Guys leaving their kids in their car for hours while they stood in line for a couple bottles or even worse, bringing them out to releases where they end up leaving visibly intoxicated and putting them in danger. I’ve seen instances where people have bullied store workers to sell them cases of limited beer before releases or even outright stolen beers from coolers. Not to mention the daily entertainment watching some neckbeard blow a head gasket because some guy from Florida is trying to lower the trade value of their local brewery special release.
For many of us these stories have ceased to surprise us. Usually the reaction is the same now:
Beer is stupid.
The parallels between the sneaker and craft beer scenes are apparent. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying I’m against trading and such. I know I’ve done my fair share. What people do with or for their beer is their business. It’s just so interesting how two completely different scenes have become so similar. I feel like the majority of the community is most likely pleasant. There’s a reason why people like me end up hanging around for so long. There’s good people, enthusiasts, that genuinely enjoy hanging out and talking with others about these things that bring us together. Again, It’s a luxury item, and unfortunately as with all luxury items, there are always people looking to take advantage. I’ve heard the argument that this is only a fad, that the bubble is bound to break, but I don’t know. The game has to be part of people’s fascination with this.  I’m not above it. I know I’ll be on my phone waiting for the next big release.

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