It’s been said here before that "power is the ability to make things happen. It’s authority, strength, muscle, swack, juice." And in the last two years we have identified food industry players — big names and otherwise — who met that description in terms of their ability to affect what and how and where we [drink].They have these things for every profession--the Oregonian even does it for Portland sports figures--and I always think the same thing: what power? We'll get to that, but have a look at the beer names (or those that affect beer) on the list first:
2. The head of your state's alcohol agency.
7. Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev
8. Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp
11. Larry Schwartz, President of Diageo North America
13. Tom Long, CEO of MillerCoors
18. Jim Koch, Boston Beer
20. Charlie Papazian
25. Debbie Weir, CEO, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
30. Jason and Todd Alstrom, BeerAdvocate
There are actually some interesting names on that list. I think CEOs are probably overrated, but obviously the chief at A-B InBev has a lot to do with what we drink. Liquor boards may have something to do with our access (ask Mississippians), but that's a little lame, too. But what about some of these others. Yelp is definitely a major player in food, and I have to think they are a great accelerant to the success of good brewpubs. Charlie's legacy is craft beer, but his current impact? Maybe not so much. Same with MADD--most of their influence is well in the past. (Though it's interesting.) I've never been able to assess RateBeer and BeerAdvocate except on one metric--creating furor around buzz beers like Dark Lord. Do they actually affect consumer choices? I wonder.
It's not actually a terrible list, especially if you just chuck most of the CEOs. (For example, Stumptown's Duane Sorenson is on the list, and that's a great call. Stumptown is the face of third wave coffee.) Incidentally, there's only one critic, wine maven Robert Parker. Since Michael Jackson's death, I would have to agree that there's no beer writer with even a fraction of Parker's power to affect purchasing decisions.
In terms of beer, who'd they miss?