Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Founder and CEO Gary Humble posted an open letter to Steven Harrell of the Dallas Observer this afternoon in response to Harrell’s review of Grapevine’s Sir William’s English Brown Ale.
The beer was recently ranked #1 in D Magazine’s “Best Beers in Dallas” issue, which has received it’s own share of criticism from beer lovers (Lakewood’s Temptress at 25?! C’mon!!). But in his post, Harrell called the beer “brown, boring, not bad beer,” and characterized it as unremarkable and forgettable, certainly not the best beer in Dallas.
These words seem to have hit Grapevine’s Humble hard. He posted the letter on the brewery’s tumblr hours after Harrell’s blog post.
“It’s writers like you that sometimes cause me to second guess what I’m doing owning a brewery,” said Humble in the letter. “But then again, it’s our fans and the love of what we do that causes me to come back to reality and see your blogs and rants as little more than insignificant in the first place.”
Humble acknowledges that the list was subjective, and that everyone probably won’t agree with the ranking. He then ended the letter telling Harrell not to be “an a**hole.”
Read the full letter here.
As the comments build up on social media over the letter, it’s obvious that no one is going to win here. No one wants to see a new brewery get ho-hum or bad reviews, but it’s just as upsetting to see Humble take this to such a personal place.
As a beer blogger myself, I would like to think that the Texas craft beer community welcomes criticism as freely as it does praise.
What do you think? Is this a heartfelt attempt at self-defense? Or a letter written in anger that shouldn’t have been sent?