A big part of the culture of beer is the social aspect of our favorite libation. While beer is enjoyable in its own right, when consumed in the company of friends, it transcends the mere act of consumption and becomes an experience.
It’s really no surprise, then, that there are groups that use beer as the catalyst for social change. When a group of like-minded people get together, great things can happen. More than a social lubricant, beer somehow creates, or maybe just enhances, the connection between people.
There are two groups that use exemplify this idea of using beer lovers to encourage social change that I am aware of. The Church of Beer is a world-wide organization that, through its local chapters, raises money for charitable causes. It launched beerchurch.com in 1998 during the early days of the Internet.
Beer Church believes that we beer lovers are part of one very large and diverse social group by virtue of our shared appreciation of beer. Beer Church also believes that beer lovers (and most people in general) want to make the world a better place. Our goal is to unite like-minded individuals with one simple mission—make the world a better place one beer at a time.
While using the idea of a church is kind of kitchy (you can even become a Beer Church Minister), the concept of using the beer loving community to better society is sound. The site also has a lot of good beer-related information.
Another organization that I like is Drinking Liberally which has a more political inclination. They describe themselves as
An informal, inclusive progressive social group. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don’t need to be a policy expert and this isn’t a book club – just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it’s not taboo to talk politics.
Bars are democratic spaces – you talk to strangers, you share booths, you feel the bond of common ground. Bring democratic discourse to your local democratic space – build democracy one drink at a time.
Again, there are local chapters which allows people to gather at a local watering hole on a regular basis, usually once a month, and talk about politics. I don’t know of a comparible right-leaning group but I will be happy to add one to this post if someone cares to illuminate me.
I encourage you to add any other groups of beer lovers that are using the social experience of beer to affect change in the comments.