How Many Brewers Are Actually Happy To Leech Off Ron’s Research?

This comment was left on FB by what looks like the owner of maybe the 4573rd most important brewery in the USA and I find it just stunning:

Ron Pattinson I recently brewed an AK recipe I believe you posted on Beeradvocate. We are a brand new brewery and I tagged you on social media in an attempt to point people in the direction of the great work you do. I did respond “guilty”. But I’m not so sure. Do you want to sell books or do you want to sell recipes? Is Barclay Perkins or the myriad other breweries getting a cut of your book sales? Is Eldrige Pope getting any of the ad revenue per click for their 1893 recipe? That nod I gave to you was out of respect. Not guilt. Rethinking that.

See, Ron is exploring how to get at least a cut of all the money he makes for others who use his brewing records research. He just put up a payment button which he stated was for those needing to atone for their guilt. Over a decade ago I realized there was no money in writing well about beer. And I’m lucky to be otherwise employed. But for years, I have encouraged his efforts in this respect and he has had some success. But only some. Do you like historic beer recreations? You owe a debt to Ron. Do you buy or sell beers styled as gose or a number of forgotten styles… even if the given beer is an abomination of the style? Thank Ron.

Ron is one of my favourite people who I’ve met through beer. Been lucky enough to have been out with him on three blurry weekends if I recall correctly. His work in brewing history speaks for itself. I actually don’t think of him as a beer historian so much as the chief archivist of the entire good beer movement. So, when some dope writes the sort of thing I cut and pasted above, it’s not only depressing. It’s a bit disgusting.

My next recommendation is that Ron hide his actual research for brewers, post about his findings but offer the details only to subscribers. It’s the least he deserves. Frankly, why the guy isn’t on long term consulting contracts for big craft brewers is beyond me. Except this is beer. Par for the course.

7 thoughts on “How Many Brewers Are Actually Happy To Leech Off Ron’s Research?”

  1. Interesting question. Does Mr. P (or any other researcher) have IP in material dug up from publicly accessible resources? Is a recipe any kind of IP? I’m not belittling the work done in digging it up and presenting it – it’s more like finding treasure than making an actual product isn’t it though?

  2. You could say the same things about my histories, Jon. Just taking records from the past any putting them in one spot. And convert pianists just hit the right keys in the right order and at the right speed.

    1. Well, a historical account can be a substantial original work even if your sources are generally accessible – a pre-existing recipe (even if it involves substantial work preparing it for publication) can’t be original – the value resides in its historicity. Cookery books have been robbing off each other for ever, and are much studied by professional chefs / cooks / bakers. A performer (whether they’re a convert pianist or raised with a piano from an early age) doesn’t magically win rights in a composition even if they found it under a rock. All that said, I’d hope commercial brewers who lean on Mr P’s work would be grateful, rather than guilty. Which seems to be what the “owner of maybe the 4573rd most important brewery in the USA” was saying.

  3. I actually find the idea that the creative work of others is to be measured in gratitude for ones own lifting and resulting net gain a bit weird. The 4573rd’s vision is one of taking and not giving, the opposite of gratitude. I’ve watched my own writing and research expropriated, my own assistance requested then go unacknowledged. I get that there is no craft beer “community” and that at the end of the day it’s all hard scrabble, looking out for number one. But seeing it out as blatantly is, as I noted, more than just sad.

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