Craft Beer Trades - The Last Great Punk Rock Tape Trade
A long time ago, in a land far away, in a time before the internet existed… I was a teenager, obsessed with skating and punk rock music. There was never enough, I wanted more, louder, faster, harder, more anger, crank that shit up! I was always hungry for new music, and one day I had found my ‘tribe’ in the back of a newsprint punk rock ‘zine’ called Maximum Rock n’ Roll. There, in the classifieds section, I saw ad after ad, looking for pen pals to trade punk rock tapes. Bands I’m into…’.
I got addicted to tape trading. A constant rotation of great undiscovered underground bands from cities all over the world would. They would show up in my mailbox almost daily. I couldn’t wait to get home from school every day to see what came in the mail and I couldn’t get enough. I still have some of my favorite tapes in my collection today.
Fast forward thirty-five years and those days are nostalgic. Remnants of it are found in my heart when a friend suggests a new band they found online or a friend’s band releases a new single on Soundcloud. The music is still great and the discoverability now is even greater, but I sometimes miss the anticipation of tearing open a package that contained a shiny new tape of music. They often included stickers, cool flyers, and maybe a local zine as well. Then one current day, as I began doing research for Crafted, I discovered the beer trading community online.
Are craft beer trades the modern-day equivalent of 1980's punk rock tape trades? You definitely can't upload a beer yet.
The camaraderie, community, the raging against the machine (technically it’s illegal to ship beer, most of the time), being into fiercely independent breweries, and using it as a platform to share ideas and connect with others all felt very subtly punk rock to me. Even further, the beer trading concept was so amazingly similar to tape trading!
Enthusiasts are sharing their delicious beer discoveries from their local microbreweries (bands) and each comes with cool can label art (hand-drawn tape covers) with someone they met on Instagram (Maximum Rock n Roll) who is as passionate as they are about trying beer from another corner of the world. Currently, because of beer distribution laws, it’s nearly impossible to get beer from a brewery you’ve heard so much about unless you actually have a chance to go there in person and try it yourself. Or, imagine this, a bunch of brewers pile into a junky old van and tour the country making beer at different breweries around the country, a craft beer tour!
Coming home to a porch bomb and tearing it open to try a new brew and share it with others feels just about as exciting to me as tape trading did. Until they figure out how to send beer electronically one day, long live the beer traders of the world!