This is a rant. A rant composed because I’m tired of Denver’s brewing industry being something that is cashed in on by folks who have no business dealing with beer. In this case: Denver’s KDVR. You know, FOX.
Right now, Denver’s KDVR is hosting some kind of ill-thought chimera of “World Cup meets Denver’s Breweries” thing where you can vote your favorite brewery into the next round. It is, ultimately, an insulting piece of bullshit. And I say this considering every other web-page in existence. I think so poorly of it I wont even link to it here.
This contest is a play by KDVR’s online content director in an attempt to increase pageviews and their audience in order to ensure the validity of their job for another fiscal year. I would know, I’ve been in that position before. Wondering what in the world can be done to keep their web property and brand relevant to a market that probably doesn’t give a damn about them anymore. The news market is saturated and those tasked with bringing us the news, like KDVR, are chasing around revenue and missing out on the important things, like bringing us the news.
So when you reach the edge of your audience, why not borrow the audience of others? This is a common practice in the blogosphere. The Wagon gets a fair bit of traffic thanks to our friends and partners at Imbibe, FermentedlyChallenged, or any of a dozen other blogs tied to our contributors. But we haven’t yet dived off to the point of “let’s drink beer and pretend to care about the World Cup.” And if we did, it wouldn’t be “here’s a silly contest to vote in.” But it would likely be Chris Bruns writing 1,000 words about the styles of booze popular in whatever country just took a loss that day.
Like the fat kid doing a cannon ball at the country club pool, KDVR is diving into a mix where they barely belong. They have World Cup ad budgets to spend. But since most people in Denver could really give a damn about the World Cup, they have little realistic content to put around it. Instead, they mixed world cup with the Denver Brewing industry to find a collection of pageviews to sell more ad space.
If this sounds dumb, it’s because it is.
A handful of other reasons this contest is dumb, if not malicious:
This has nothing to do with beer, the quality of beer, or who makes the best beer. This is a “what business do you frequent the most” survey. It’s like when Westword or 5280 does its Best Of whatever every year. The first round is a write in, the next round you barely vote for anything because do you really care who the best newscaster is? And, yes, with as many breweries that there are here in Denver, there are plenty of them who make truly horrendous beer. Yet, these breweries will still garner votes because, as noted, this is not about beer.
This is about money and advertising. Ultimately, the only thing this serves is KDVR who is, ultimately, only responsible to the advertisers that allow to keep them on the air. If it wasn’t, it would exist on an independent domain and the page would be devoid of advertising. If they wanted to actually serve Denver’s beer-enthused public, there would be some kind of option here to sign up for news and updates about the contest or information about the breweries mentioned in the poll.
Breweries lose focus. I have received two dozen notices in the past 24 hours by email, twitter ,and text from breweries suggesting that I go and vote for them on this contest and tell others in my various networks to do the same. You know what I would have rather received? Two dozen messages from various mediums saying “Fuck voting, we’ve got this new beer you should come drink.” FOX’s contest is not an extension of marketing. All the breweries thrown into this mix are not gaining anything unless they are the absolute winner. Even then, who is going to come from miles around to drink at the brewery named “Best Whatever” by a KDVR voting poll?
We didn’t hear about it. Formerly editing the Wagon, I still get press releases from everyone about all the goings on in the beer industry. Never got a press release about this. I had to find out about it via text message. Not a link or a hashtag or even another of my brewery hopping pals. A text message. Like it is 2004 or something.
The organizers of this contest at FOX have little idea what they are doing. In the first run, Hops & Pie was an option for the best brewery. I love Hops & Pie, great pizza and a knockout tap list. But, they aren’t a brewery. What does this mean? The Organizers of this silly little survey-cum-competition didn’t do any kind of outreach or research before they slapped together a list they likely copied from Fermentedly Challenged’s regional lists If this is even half true (and I suspect it might be) double shame on Fox for being the corporate entity that snags from the independent guy without giving credit. What are you, BuzzFeed?
This is democracy: inviting anyone and everyone to vote in something they probably don’t know a whole lot about. In this case, breweries they’ve likely never been to all of. Also, anyone can vote as many times as they want. Also, there’s a huge security hole where, if I were so inclined, I could run a script in my browser and shower thousands upon thousands of votes on whatever brewery I choose.
Some of these places aren’t even open yet. Or they have just opened. Or they have been barely open a week. How can you be the best of anything if you aren’t open yet? Of course, I have every faith in the world that each brand new brewery in Denver will knock it out of the park eventually, but it is very difficult for me to determine the quality of a beer, brewery, etc when there is still a padlock on the door and you’re waiting for the city to come and turn your water on.
You have Miller Coors as an option for a vote. Therein, your point is invalid.
This is an invite for more debate on all the wrong platforms. This is only inviting more links and SEO prowess that benefits the one organization that it shouldn’t: KDVR Fox. Note that on the contest page there is not a single link to any of the breweries’ websites, Facebooks, Twitters, or whatever. After the winner is announced, the debate will be sparked over who actually deserved it and who has better beer, etc. And you know who that debate will actually serve? KDVR Fox.
IN SUMMATION if you are going to support your favorite brewery, then just support them. Go there, drink their product, bring a new friend or two along to spread the love a little further. Or, if you happen to find the contest, everyone should go and vote for MillerCoors (or AC Golden, essentially the same company, and further evidence of how poorly planned this all was). That way, at the end of it all, KDVR can name MillerCoors as the winner of their contest. Yay.