Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Wikognition, Part II

Recapping: The prefix “Wiki” made it into the Oxford English Dictionary (despite already earning a place in other reference works).

Why we cared: Because we needed a blog entry. No wait, um, because Flying Fish and Triumph have been immortalized in Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. (Yes, it’s just Jersey beer trivia we’re fatuously falling all over here.)

How we tried to gin up the first take on this entry: Ask Wikipedia founder and Internet entrepreneur Jimmy Wales if he’s ever had a Jersey-made beer.

Two weeks later, we have an answer. (And we forgive Jimmy for the delay; he’s a busy guy. After all, he does occupy a spot on Time magazine’s list of 100 people who shape our world. He’s quite a sporting guy, too, for entertaining our query. Thanks, Jimmy.)

First off, Jimmy emails us that he does like beer, German beer, in fact, although he didn’t indicate a brand or style. Incidentally, he’s also learning German (of which we know a little: Bier schmeckt immer ausgezeichnet … we won’t swear to the correctness of our usage.)

Jimmy’s a traveling guy, too (he was in Japan when we emailed him last month), so of course he’s been to New Jersey.

But he notes that he’s never had a Jersey-made beer.

“Hmmmm. I think I am entirely unaware of the existence of New Jersey beers!” Jimmy wrote us.


OK, we’re being a little melodramatic. And truthfully, we can scare up a dozen born-and-raised New Jerseyans who, with a Coors Light in their grip, can say the same thing. That’s a bigger ouch, since New Jersey has a rather large résumé as a brewing state (just a lot of it is relegated to beer history now), inlcuding some award-winning craft and pub-brewed beers.

But Jimmy’s answer does play into a bigger picture. And that is the Garden State has a fairly low profile, comparatively, in the era of craft brewing. We're the Garden State, but not quite the beer garden state. That’s a conclusion we’re fairly certain will be underlined, figuratively speaking, when the Colorado-based Brewer’s Association unspools some extensive 2006 industry data this month.

But you don’t have to be big to be well known. And maybe we can make a convert out of Jimmy. Of course, we’re not implying that you FedEx Jimmy and the Wikimedia Foundation a mixed case of Jersey’s best. Let’s reiterate, we’re not suggesting that.

But if you infer it, who’s to throw cold water on a good idea?

Uh, maybe you should throw in some pork roll, too.

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