An Unpopular Response to The Food Babe’s Attack on Big Beer

Vani Hari, or The Food Babe

Vani Hari, Better Known as “The Food Babe”

Multi-Million Dollar Beer Company Reveals Their Beer Ingredients in Response to Food Blogger

The Truth About What’s In YOUR Beer

Budweiser Agrees to List All of Their Ingredients on Website Due to Pressure from Food Babe

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I’m sure by now you’ve seen a number of headlines that read something like the three examples above. It’s old news by now, but I’d like to tell you about a response to this story that hasn’t garnered the attention it deserves (IMHO).

Firstly, in case you’re not aware, let me give a brief background on how this all started, who started it, and the response to it from most media members, bloggers, and the general public.

A week ago today, Vani Hari, better known as “The Food Babe,” posted an article to her insanely popular blog titled “Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors: Tell Us What’s in Your Beer.” Like much of her content, this post quickly went viral. (To give you a quick idea of how popular The Food Babe is, she has over 600,000 likes on Facebook and over 60,000 Twitter followers. I don’t have numbers on her blog – but it’s very successful.)

Food Babe Down with Mystery Beer Graphic

One of Many Graphics Made As Part of The Food Babe’s Campaign

The Food Babe’s overall mission, taken directly from her About page, is “[to investigate] what is really in our food, how it is grown and what chemicals are used in its production.” Last year, The Food Babe did a post called “The Shocking Ingredients In Beer,” and I’ll admit, it was pretty compelling. I even covered it myself.

While that post was popular, it wasn’t nearly as popular as this most recent post. In fact, in response to the multitude of media coverage and the cries of Hari’s “FoodBabeArmy,” both Anheuser Busch and MillerCoors did respond, and they did as they were asked (or forced?) – a sweet social victory for The Food Babe and her army of faithful followers.

The Food Babe's Celebration Photo

The Food Babe’s Celebration Photo Posted to Her Blog

Now, a lot of you are probably thinking, Man, that’s awesome. I kind of thought that too. I’m certainly a proponent of tighter regulations on our food, exposing malfeasance in the FDA, and a generally open, honest communication policy about what we’re buying to put in our bodies.

But before you celebrate, I urge you to read this post, titled “The New Yellow Journalism” on the The Brookston Beer Bulletin. I assume many of you are familiar with this blog. It’s penned exclusively by Jay Brooks, one of the beer industry’s most experienced, celebrated writers.

Jay Brooks with Brookston Beer Bulletin Logo

Jay Brooks of The Brookston Beer Bulletin

The article is comprehensive. Jay does his due journalistic diligence (as is customary with him), and what he has to say is really damn convincing. I urge you to read it before you too celebrate what many are calling a “victory” for the little guys (craft beer).

[Read the Full Article]

Please also note that Jay Brooks and most of his readers are – for the most part – all craft beer enthusiasts. But this isn’t an “us vs. them,” “craft vs. macro,” “small vs. big issue.” It’s about beer. In fact, one of Jay’s readers commented on the blog post: “It’s a sad day in craft beer land when craft beer lovers have to defend big beer, which most of us never drink and are even deplored with some of their business practices… but there is REALLY nothing to see here.”

If you do end up reading Jay’s piece, and like me, you’re left craving more, check out the comment thread. It’s pretty interesting, if not entirely educational.

As a final point, the most glaring mistake made by The Food Babe, her “army,” and maybe a small team of social media managers, is their blatant disregard for all comments of opposition and dissent – even those that state their opinions with both respect and intelligence. All of these comments were (and still are) immediately deleted, and then the writer behind them is blocked from her page.

I manage many of the social media pages here at KegWorks, and it is a 101 rule in social media, that you absolutely do not delete negative comments. Ever. Never. Never ever. Of course, if someone is harassing you or someone on your page, using excessive, unnecessary profanity, or spreading lies about your business, you may have to consider further action. But if it is a calmly expressed qualm or issue – like much of what was deleted on The Food Babe’s page(s) – you leave it up. And most importantly, you respond to it. Address it. Immediately. Show your other fans that you take all complaints, issues, and calls for debate (or discussion) seriously and openly.

Considering The Food Babe gets a lot of play on social, one would think she knows this. I’d try to tell her, but assume I’d be ignored.

What do you guys think about this story? It’s hot right now, and I’m dying to hear from those of you who have read both The Food Babe’s post(s) and the post on Brookston Beer Bulletin. Hit us up in the comments, even if you disagree – we’d love to talk about it.

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