published Thursday, August 28th, 2014

City Beat: Sometimes it’s trendy to be trendy

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    World of Beer is under construction at 412 Market St. The restaurant/bar will offer 50 to 60 tapped beers and have an occupancy of 283 patrons.
    Photo by Tim Barber

Why do some things catch on with people and some don’t?

Trends are sometimes hard to explain and harder still to predict.

What is it that has caused millions of people to douse themselves in ice water under the premise of battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? This trend came out of nowhere and is now everywhere on social media. What is pretty stunning about the phenomenon it that it has raised almost $88 million dollars for the ALS Association at last count. That’s a very good thing.

Also remarkable are the people who have “accepted the challenge.” Mayors, a former president, celebrities galore, old people, young people, guys in suits, guys in T-shirts, individuals and large groups of people have all gone on camera and either poured a bucket of ice water on themselves or had someone do it. Many of those failed and, as you’d expect, those videos are online, too.

But why? Is it narcissism, or do people just like being a part of a trend? Is it because people really want to battle ALS? Why not an ice water challenge for breast cancer or heart disease?

In any case, kudos to Pete Frates, the 29-year-old man who came up with the idea after being diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

There is another trend happening right now, and Chattanooga is out in front of it. While it is not new, it is easier to understand and, coincidentally, can involve a bucket of ice.

Craft beer.

Beer helped build this country and has a fascinating history, but, in the early ’70s, most beer brewed in America was made by huge breweries like Anheuser-Busch.

In 1976, a guy in California founded the first microbrewery in the country since Prohibition. This past weekend, around 60 such breweries set up shop along Riverfront Parkway for the Southern Brewers Festival, a two-day event. Thousands of people turned out to sample the wheat beers, lagers, pale ales and IPAs.

Today, World of Beer, a new restaurant that as the name would suggest specializes in beer, will open on Market Street. It will offer 60 beers on tap, and those will be rotated with new ones coming in on a regular basis, and since there are about 8,000 different beers made worldwide, you’ll be able to try something new for awhile. They will also have more than 500 kinds of bottled beers.

They also make beer cheese that apparently goes really well with pretzels they sell that are as big as a steering wheel.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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