What’s the Deal with all the Attitude?

james-altwies-gorst-valley

So I’ve been quiet (believe it or not, it can happen from time to time) as we build our business and spend a little “me” time on the internal operations and I have noticed a few trends I can’t resist commenting on. 

Again, hop growing is gaining a bit of steam after the first wave of failures decayed back into the earth.  It seems to go in short cycles where people looking to make a bunch of money jump into hops only to find there isn’t a bunch of money in hops without the requisite work part of the equation.  They get pissy and like to point fingers at everyone but themselves and leave a wake of flaming crap for the rest of us to wade through.

Same things can be said for the craft brewing industry right now.  It’s the “money first, market second” approach and it confuses the hell out of the marketplace and floods every other neighborhood corner with sub-par beer, creates long lead times for equipment, and generally occupies space.  But a free market economy will help with the “self-correction” and the pendulum will swing back the other way.

As a small business owner I have to position my company to weather these waves and hope that the worst thing to happen is we all get a little wet.  But I spend an enormous amount of time (and I mean stupid amounts of time here) concerned about the farmers in our group who are bombarded with hyperbole, smack-talk, and all-around pissy attitudes from others within the industry.  It’s almost as if the game is to act friendly only to take the next opportunity to degrade, berate, and otherwise diminish the efforts of others based solely on a gut reaction to someone else who seems to be playing in the same sandbox.

My initial reaction?  Claw, bite, punch, kick, etc.  I think it’s natural to react like this when a new presence (real or perceived) materializes in your sandbox because you want to protect what you worked so hard for and this new entity may be a threat.  But in my experience A) they’ve been there longer than you realize and they didn’t just appear from the murky depths of the sandbox and B) they are not looking to wreck your sandcastle.  They usually just want to play with you.

Here is where I become a protective mama-bear.  I know there is a huge amount at stake for me, my company, and my farmers.  Instead of slinging attitude around and puffing out my chest like some male-dominant monkey I go to my happy place:  Data.  Facts.  Critical Thinking.  Yes…we can all say it…emphasis on the critical part, James.  I know!  But I think we have the right to demand clarity of information; accurate, factual, and earnest.  We have become accustomed to taking things at face value and critical thinking takes a back seat.  I get angry that people have a gall to try and smear their opinions and assumptions on us and I become confrontational.  My friends and family deserve better and if it takes me to pressure the smear-mongers I’m willing to do so and be labeled and generally disliked.  The best offense is a good defense?  Defense against the sandbox interloper because why?  Because we’re afraid that this new entity doesn’t share our same philosophies, maybe they don’t care for historically accurate sand castles?

But sometimes they don’t and I think that’s what we’re afraid of really…what if they don’t want to play nice?  As a result we throw up attitudes as defensive mechanisms but only serve to further tensions that didn’t really exist in the first place.  Super.

So I guess I continue the vigilance against spin, hyperbole, and the vile smear-mongers.  I vow to uphold factualness, accuracy, and truth!

I AM…

Captain Bringdown!!!!!  (And I’m told I can be a little gruff at times)

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