Pleasing the palate

“It is in the interest of every brewer, first to please the palate of his customers, and the next, to do it in the way most convenient and profitable to himself”.

“An Elementary Dictionary, or Cyclopædiæ, For The Use Of Maltsters, Brewers, Distillers, Rectifiers, Vinegar Manufacturers, And Others”. George Adolphus Wigney, 1838

Two questions:

1) If a customer’s palate is un-demanding, does the brewer become ever-more profitable?

2) If the brewer puts convenience and profit first, can they still sell beer to customers with demanding palates?

I’d say the answer to both questions is yes. Many of the multinational lager brewers fit the first example; some of the extreme craft/artisan/micro/this-weeks-buzzword brewers fit the latter.

Undemanding palates crave undemanding beer. The brewer can (literally) engineer savings and still meet the expectations of his customer base.

Demanding palates may seem to want more. But what they actually crave is more of the same; not the same flavours, but more experimentation. Or novelty.

So some shyster brewers can marry convenience and profit by adulterating bad beer with an adjunct. And not only sell it but sell it at a healthy margin to those with, ahem, ‘demanding palates’ as it becomes a rarity, a limited release, a one-off special, an epoch-defining rebellion against…ah, you know what I mean.

Both are pleasing the palates of their customers. But only one lot of customers is being cheated.