Yesterday (Wed, Nov 26) on NPR, if you tuned into "Marketplace", instead of hearing about mouthwatering Schweddy Balls, you heard about mouthwatering craft beer. I recorded the interview with host Kai Ryssdal at the Library Bar in downtown LA (around the corner from the library.) As a devoted NPR listener for years (to say nothing of remembering listening to "All Things Considered" when driving around town with my mom in our old, family, wood-paneled stationwagon), it was a huge honor to find myself on the other side of the mic/radio.
Kai asked me to pick four beers--something hoppy, dark, middle of the road, and I believe his words were something like "piss water." Perusing their beer menu, I selected North Coast's Old Rasputin imperial Russian stout (Ft. Bragg, CA), Bear Republic's Racer 5 IPA (Healdsburg, CA), Craftsman's 1903 Lager (Pasadena, CA), and Amstel Light (apologies to the Netherlands). All on American Public Radio's dime.
We sat, sipped, and discussed the state of the American brewing industry, both on a craft and industrial level. I'd say it lasted half an hour. The result? Four minutes and twenty seconds. Overall, I'm ecstatic with the finished piece, save for one tiny thing no one would catch:
"RYSSDAL: Uh, clearly the economy's having some problems. Disposable income is at a premium. What's that going to do to the craft brew sector when these good beers that we've been drinking cost $3, $4, $5 more than a six-pack of Bud Light?
Yaeger: I could tell you that, just for the numbers of 2007, the craft beer segment actually climbed 12 percent. And that is actually an improvement from a decline a couple years ago. Even though people may have less money to spend, it's just a luxury in a bottle and it's not going to set you back a whole lot."
What they snipped was that I said craft beer sales climbed 12 percent, as they have for the past four years, but the Big Boys take of the $100 billion Americans spent on beer last year grew less than 2 percent, which is actually an improvement from a decline a couple years ago. Truly, no biggie, but just wanted to be clear here.
Anyway, it worked! "Worked?" Yes, worked. Before the story aired, Red, White, and Brew was somewhere around Amazon #30,000, and #31 on the Beer list. Already it's #2,000-something and set a new record at #2 on the Beer list. (It's also #15 on the US Travel list, #1 on Kindle's Beer list, #5 on Kindle's US Travel list (after only heroes William Least Heat-Moon and Bill Bryson), and a new list to me, #71 on the "Lifestyle" list, meaning I'm right after Paula Deen's x-mas book. (Having said that, I still encourage those who drink local, independent brews to buy the book at local, independent bookstores.) Happy holidays, indeed. Bonus for airing right before Black Friday. This is just all so cool and exciting.