I used to be a huge fan of American microbreweries. Had you talked to me in 1998, I would have told you that, contrary to popular belief, America is a great brewing nation. Hell, New York State alone had dozens of fine micros.
I still pretty much feel that way, but my enthusiasm is lessened by what I see as a pervasive emphasis on marketing over quality on the microbrew scene. I'm kinda sick of cutesy beer names. I'm tired of overdone bottle art. And I'm annoyed that breweries' often scant operating dollars are going to this aspect of the business rather than into creating the best possible beers.
Have you ever bought a science fiction novel because of the cool cover art, only to find a hackneyed, overdone formulaic story? That's my take on disassociative marketing- the kind of marketing that emphasizes image over the quality of the product.
Plus, at the beer store, everybody's beautiful, pramary-colored bottle art and everybody's "Old Defribulator" and "Angus McFuckstick's Ale" all blends together into a sea of gobbledygook that tells the potential consumer nothing about the beer.
I know packaging is important, but i wish it wasn't always so over the top. No if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have a beer that gets it right, Southern Tier IPA.