[EDIT (2/12/19 10:21am): Since posting this piece, Bill Metzger has officially responded, giving the old “I’m sorry you were offended” non-apology and saying that the piece was a work of parody on toxic reactionaries, additionally saying that the anger towards it is “shooting the messenger”. Indeed, the article seems to be part of “Los Testigos de Cerveza”, a series of vignettes that details the travels and exploits of four beer-loving friends. It should be noted, however, that nowhere in the paper or in the information about the series does it state that it is a work of parody or fiction.
I’m not sure Metzger understands what parody or satire actually are. In order for it to work, you need to show a clear indication that you ARE performing parody, the target of which should also clearly be defined. None of that was present here and frankly, even if it was, it’s the type of lazy, annoying, and downright disappointing writing that has no place on the front page of a regional newspaper about beer. A paper, I should add, that distributes within an industry that already has a troubling relationship with women along with people of colour and LGBTQ+ folks. Additionally I have word that this isn’t the first time Metzger has written something along these lines and in my personal experience, voices like that come from somewhere inside the author.
My feelings and reactions to Bill Metzger’s piece below remains the same. Throw crap like this back into the sea. -R ]
[EDIT (2/13/19 12:46pm): There has been some speculation that the overall creepiness of Bill Metzger’s piece was a one-off gaffe that is out of character. As Beer Writer, Author, and personality Alan McLeod pointed out on his Twitter account, Metzger has been doing this for some time, with some additional racist tropes thrown in. Separate sources who know the paper confirm this.]
[EDIT (2/15/19 12:17pm): Jeeeez, these updates keep coming. Last one. Following the fallout after his non-apology, including Yankee Brew News announcing that they are ending their relationship with the Brewing News family of papers along with other papers Mid-Atlantic Brewing News and American brewer, Forbes Magazine beer columnist Tara Nurin confirms that Bill Metzger has announced his resignation from Great Lakes Brewing News and the Brewing News family of papers. As he was the owner of GLBN, the fate of that particular paper remains unclear.]
Folks, I have to be honest with you here.
This post isn’t going to talk too much about beer, but it’s something related to the beer world. Primarily one of the many things wrong with it in regards to its treatment of women.
No no, this isn’t going to be talking about a sexist label or a really bad PR gaffe in which a rape joke was made.
This is a special kind of trainwreck.
Today I’m going to guide you through some excerpts from the February/March issue of Great Lakes Brewing News, a regional beer news publication that has no connection to Ohio’s Great Lakes Brewing Co. or Ontario’s Great Lakes Brewery. It’s actually part of a family, which includes Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, Southern Brewing News, and Yankee Brew News among others. You can find their other affiliations here.
On the front page of Great Lakes Brewing News, and in several pages throughout, is a piece by the publisher Bill Metzger.
Bill here wrote a fairly lengthy piece on the topic of his journeys bar hopping around Scotland and highlighting his appreciation for Real Ale (also known as Cask Ale).
Sounds innocent enough, right? Well. Before we begin, here are a couple of online reviews of the piece.
And a special mention from the really good folks at Muddy York Brewing, who had the rotten luck of sharing a front page on the right with this piece.
That’s right, folks. He managed to take a piece about cask ale and turn it into a whiny, self-indulgent, sexist, heavily misogynist, and creepy as hell work. In fact he did this so expertly that it actually broke my brain and I need to break it down and go over most of the particularly offensive quotes with you all because if I don’t I’m going to keep thinking about it until I have a brain aneurysm.
Alright. Let’s start with the very first sentence of the article.
“Like most men, I struggle with my my primal self.”
Oh boy, strap in folks, because we know exactly where this is going.
“It’s genetic. Put in Freudian terms, the battle between my id and my superego can be epic. And in the age of #metoo, the dilemma has grown.”
Alright, so far we’ve got a very Jordan Peterson vibe in which genetics, psychology, and feminism are to blame for shitty behaviour. Let’s see how far he goes with it.
“The pendulum has swung too far. One aggressive move and a man’s career can derail. I feel the walls closing around me, my room to move shrinking. My instincts to bed every woman I see are reducing from a king-sized mattress to a cot, the size of which I only remember from a tour in Iraq. Today’s rules put men like me in the equivalent of a feminazi re-education program instead of ceding to my genetic makeup and behaving like the great seducer, Don Juan.”
Where to begin here.
Firstly, THIS IS THE OPENER FOR AN ARTICLE ABOUT CASK BEER. It’s not some reddit post for incels or MRAs, this is a (very, very long) piece that talks about cask beer, but as you’ll see in a bit, it’s scattered with Metzger’s moments where he just HAS to discuss how very very horny he is and how good he is at having sex.
Right, now onto the #MeToo concerns. I’d like to note that, in regards to the movement, the only men who have had their “careers derailed” have been men who have sexually harassed or assaulted women. To put in more understandable terms, men who have given women unwanted sexual attention and/or raped them. If Metzger is concerned that his “aggressive moves” on women will impact his career, I think he should be taking a serious look at his moves and understand that, despite his virility, women don’t want that shit. At all.
And if we’re talking about this genetics nonsense that he’s using to justify his behaviours, it should also be noted that one of the genetic elements that humans have been gifted with is a sense of making ethical determinations or taking measures to prevent naturally occurring things. For instance, we know the causes of extreme winds but we don’t just let the wind destroy our buildings because that’s just how the world works and gosh, what can you do. We make stronger buildings.
The naturalistic fallacy dictates that just because something is “natural” that doesn’t mean that it is ethically “good”. Sexual desires are a completely natural thing. But so too is the ability to not act on those desires in certain circumstances because it’s ethically wrong. So half-baked genetic theory isn’t responsible for shitty behaviour and if you feel trapped by feminists, then you must really like being shitty to women. So spare me that primal self crap, you pompous jackass.
“I’m not boasting here, but there are times when I’ve given the legendary womanizer a run for his money, especially in the days of internet dating.”
WE GET IT, BILL. YOU LIKE TO FUCK.
“With the 1980s decay of England’s coal industry and the subsequent loss of jobs, Whitley Bay had become a seasonal tourist resort. Since we were there to meet locals, December was a good month and I pushed the thoughts of bikini-clad babes on the boardwalk from my thoughts and settled in to enjoy the beer.”
Bill, dude, I have to know why you felt good throwing that bikini-clad babes remark in there.
“Real ale is also generally lower in alcohol, with most examples hovering around 4% alcohol by volume (ABV). This enables the drinker to consume more. While inevitably getting a little squiffy from the alcohol, he won’t get so spannered that he loses his shoes on the way home, something that happened to me on my last trip to Germany after too many liters of rauchbier.”
Okay. There we go. Talkin’ about cask beer. We’re learning something!
“A lower alcohol is also beneficial in performing for a woman, something I’m genetically designed to do.”
Alright, ladies, not only does our man here like to fuck, he needs to tell you, in this article about cask beer in a regional beer newsletter that he publishes, that’s he’s also damned good at it because of genetics. I think I speak for all women with the famous Leonardo DiCaprio quote: “You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention!”. Swoon.
Anyways, so at this point in the story there are two beer novice women in his group and they don’t seem particularly keen on cask beer, which is understandable to him because they come from an area where it’s not as common.
“Add that to the fact that despite its artisanal beer boom, the UK holds the dubious distinction of having the lowest percentage of female beer drinkers in the world.”
This article that is literally titled “British women now among top drinkers in the world” refutes that claim, but okay.
“My thinking on this is that women need a higher level of alcohol to overcome the social restrictions on their primal selves. After all, women have the need-to-breed gene, too.”
I would remark on how incredibly asinine this is, but immediately after this bit is a corker.
“And excess consumption can ruin a diet. I know the dietary restrictions well; if I didn’t drink beer, I’d be ripped and wouldn’t have to rely on my wit to accomplish the reproductive drive.”
Right. So. Women don’t drink much (they do) because they need more alcohol to let their primal self be unchained from society (A very troubling way of saying “get so drunk that they will sleep with anyone”) and they need to watch their intake lest they become overweight. So…”women don’t drink much because they need lots of booze to get horny and that’s bad for their weight”. That’s what he’s saying.
That’s what a real human being thinks in 2019.
I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.
That assertion broke my brain so much, that I can’t even come up with anything funny to say about his wit, which helps him accomplish his “reproductive drive” which is the grossest possible way of saying sex ever.
Moving on, here’s a portion titled “Scottish Manliness”.
“Scotland’s history is a metaphor for what I’m trying to say about the male being. The country’s history is rife with the exploits of manly men raiding villages and ravaging (Robin’s note: for all confused, that means raping) maidens, then retreating to their castles to guzzle ale.”
Right. So. Very horny for the Scots and we seem to have a set idea of what he regards as the epitome of manliness.
“Called Scots even then, their clans were so manly that as early as 142 A.D. the Roman emperor at the time built a wall to keep them out.”
So, this is one piece of history sure, and I’m not going to deny that Scotland, like most of the world, was a patriarchal society back then. It definitely was. But this build up of the manly exploits of the manly scots seems to, perhaps by intention or ignorance, forget about the women of the british region, both in history and mythology. Wherefore is the tale of Scáthach, legendary Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher who trained the Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the ways of combat? Or Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, who led a futile but brave uprising against the Roman Empire’s occupying forces around AD 61 (while, it should be noted, invoking the war goddess Andraste), saying “Let us show them that they are hares and foxes trying to rule over dogs and wolves”.
You can romanticize the strength of men in ancient times all you want, but don’t you dare forget about the women standing up and fighting.
Right, moving on to the final piece here, thank christ.
“As my lack of contact with the group lengthened I grew worried. One can only tour the holiday stalls around Glasgow for so long, dodging the German made sausages and kiddie rides before growing bored. Had my offer to the novices of a hot shower been taken the wrong way? Both were females who I would have banged, but concern with how I dealt with my primal self shouldn’t have played a role. The shower was located outside the bedroom, behind a closed door.”
So wait. The only reason he wouldn’t have made an attempt to seduce them is because the shower wasn’t near the bed? Or is he showing us that he can restrain his primal urges so well? Bill, please get back to me to clarify.
And there you have it, folks.
I…don’t know what to say to all of that. It should go without saying that a paper which is meant to show readers local news regarding breweries and events should have no place for way too many words on a sad, angry man’s sexual introspection and rage at “feminazis”, a word that isn’t even appropriate in society let alone a publication that wants to take itself seriously.
It should go without saying that, when talking about real ale in Scotland, that the writer would know that bragging about their sexual virility and urges should stay as far away from the article as possible. Hell, I know very few people that would want to hear that from a stranger, let alone read about it in a paper that literally has nothing to do with the subject.
All of this should go without saying, but here we are.
I really hope that the people who think sexism isn’t as prominent in the beer world as women claim it to be will read this and think that maybe, just maybe, we’re not making this stuff up. Bill Metzger is apparently a very intelligent and highly regarded beer writer and yet he wrote this piece of trash, looked over it, and saw nothing wrong with it. There was no introspection on his actions or critical thinking of his own thoughts when it came towards women and that’s the height of male privilege because I wager he has never had to do these things.
This was a special kind of stupid, but only because it was written and published. Too many women know too many sad, angry, and incredibly mediocre men like Metzger. And they aren’t just in the beer world, they are everywhere.
I’m happy that so many people, men as well as women and non-binary folks, are as appalled by reading this as I was and are saying something about it. As for what to do…well, should you feel the need to say something, here is the contact info for the author of this piece, as well as the paper’s Editor:
Bill Metzger – Publisher
Mark Garland – Editor
And here is a list of their advertisers as well, in case you’re the type to let them know.
And if you are a brewery who, like Muddy York, was featured or will be featured in future editions of the paper, I’d strongly suggest having a think over how you feel about that.
And on a personal level, I’d like to say that Bill Metzger’s words are not welcome here. The beer community is filled with good people and we’re trying to make it as welcoming as possible. We don’t need this bullshit MRA crap to further widen the gender divide.
As the Scots would say, Mr. Metzger, “Get it right up ye”.