Monday, December 11, 2006
The Brew Lounge 'Topic of the Week': How to deliver a negative review
After a significant lull in our sometimes lively 'Topics of the Week', I'm bringing 'em back! In the past, we've discussed, among other topics, smoking, light beers, and the macro beer segment. This week I'll broach the topic of a negative review of a beer, brewery, or pub. It happens, that's a fact of life. Not everything can be great. But, how do we as advocates of better beer handle the situation? How do you handle it? Do you tell as many people you can? Do you go to an industry website, personal blog, or newsboard and rant? Or do you find a way of directly informing the owner and/or brewer of your experience and opinions? My suggestion here is that we should all first do it directly and tactfully. This means using an avenue of discussion with the proprietor or the brewer. Afterall, is the goal to drive craft brewers out of business or, rather, to a better product? This is where I was heading with my smoking argument a few months back. I'll bet if a bar owner hears from enough customers (and employees, for that matter) that their business will move elsewhere unless the smoking policy changes, the smoking policy will likely change. Why should regulation be needed in that case? Well, regulation is what typically is happening, because enough people do not make their voices heard. Oops, sorry, I've slipped back into another topic... So, how about instead of either complaining or not saying anything at all about a brewpub's lackluster brews, poor servers, inappropriate glassware, unpleasant conditions, .......we make a pact right here that we will first try to address the issue with the owner or brewer. Then, if that doesn't yield desired results, find an outlet (message board, industry website, blog, etc.) to tactfully state the issues. Because, really, at the end of the day we don't want substandard crappy wannabe brewpubs to choose from. But, neither do we want none at all with out-of-work brewers wondering what went wrong. How do you handle situations where you're not happy with the beer, the people, the atmosphere, etc. when you encounter them?