It’s fair to say we live in a commitment-phobic culture. While you might think this phenomenon pertains only to your relationship, it’s also playing a role in something much more important: how you buy your beer.
Commitment-phobia has become a pervasive theme in dining out. Think about it: how much hipper have snacks, appetizers, and tapas become in the last few years? Feasting on a little bit of everything feeds both our urge to try the whole menu and calms our fears about being stuck with one large, expensive portion of something we don’t like. This simultaneous enthusiasm for sampling everything and fear of committing to a single dish is obvious when you go out to eat, and obvious when you hit the grocery store in search of a six-pack.
Cue sampler packs – mix and match six-packs that allow you to leave the grocery store with several different kinds of beers for the price of an average six-pack. It sounds great, and on one hand, it is. With a sampler pack, you can essentially experience what you would at a feast of appetizers: a taste of everything. I love a good mix and match pack myself. But there are a few drawbacks.
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First off, buying a mono-variety six-pack helps a brewery move their product at a more healthy rate. While that’s definitely not your obligation, you might feel better knowing you’re really supporting a brewery when you buy a whole pack, as opposed to only a single bottle. This is particularly pertinent if you’re championing the small local brewery down the street.
Additionally, because the beer will be resupplied less frequently, there’s a chance that the available beer isn’t as ideally fresh as you might like it to be. Dave Engbers, Co-Founder and President of Founders Brewing says, “we prefer consumers buy six-packs to ensure that the beer is as fresh and clean as possible.” He clarifies that sampler packs are still “a great opportunity to experiment and expand your palate without making an investment, but make sure to frequent a store with high turnover.”
But more than ensuring the freshness of your beer, buying one type of beer has psychological plusses. When you drink a beer for the first time, you might not like it. Maybe it has to do with what you’re eating, maybe it’s your mood, or maybe it’s a bad beer. Whatever the case may be, we implore you to try it again, in a different context. You may find that you are, in fact, a fan of that beer a few days later. If you tried a beer you’re not crazy about in a mix and match pack, chances are you’ll never try it again, and that could be an opportunity wasted. But when you buy a six-pack, you challenge yourself to enjoy a certain type of beer to completion. Maybe you’ll cook with it – maybe you’ll make a beer face mask. Either way, for better or for worse you have to stick to that one brew. You might be glad you did, because believe it or not, commitment can be a beautiful thing.