I've been doing a good amount of thinking lately about the merit of awards, achievements, and accolades. People are always searching for a way to display their accomplishments, vendors are constantly putting their gold medals on the label, producers never stop talking about points, and some consumers keep bragging about what they've tasted. There are numerous publications available now that are calling this period in time the "look at me" generation. Everyone wants to be special and, more importantly, they want you to know it. The problem with this mentality and the irony of the situation is that NO ONE CARES.
Seriously, no one gives a hoot. In all honesty, I've found that most people care very little about many things, but they especially zone out when listening to pedantry. Yap, yap, yap, is all they hear and who can blame them? If I get asked to pick out a few wines for someone, I have to be very careful about how much information I choose to share. If I say, "these wines are fantastic," that's about as much as most people want to hear. They wanted my selection and they got it. When I start getting into micro-climates, soil types, and the history of the region, many customers begin staring blankly and nodding their head with a zombie-like expression - a sign that I've gone too far. Touting one's expertise can really annoy people and as one of the less humble people of the world, I've had to learn this the hard way over the years. The point is, however, that I've learned. I'm still surprised by how many haven't.
I've met with numerous liquor salesmen over the last few weeks and lately I've been more than blunt in my interpretation of the market. "But our tequila won a double gold at the SF Spirits competition! Doesn't that help you sell it?" No, it doesn't. You know why? Because no one cares. Awards are given by people in the industry to other people in the industry. Very few people outside the industry even know what the SF Spirits Competition is, and even if they did, they still wouldn't care. Gold medals fall slightly under the 100 point scale on the list of the least valuable evaluation systems in spirits.
I was browsing a widely-read whisky blog the other day, and the subject was concerning a few new releases that had yet to be made available. The author was explaining how they tasted and I was excited to get some insight. Then I read the comments. The first few responses were from other bloggers who just HAD to let everyone know that they had also tasted these whiskies at some special tasting somewhere. Guess what, guys? NO ONE CARES! I went to the site to read this one person's take, and I don't give two shits if you tasted it last week. Save the bragging for your Facebook page. Take a picture in front of every bottle you've ever tasted and post it there (although, I still can't promise you that anyone will care).
I was talking to a friend on the phone the other day and she said, "I don't know why everyone thinks my sister is dumb, I mean, she got her masters in education." I thought to myself, "your sister IS rather spacey, and as far as the master's degree goes: no one cares!" As if a master's degree separated smart from dumb, good from bad! I have a master's degree in German and I usually don't tell anyone because most people say, "Why?" with a frown, rather than "Wow, that must mean you're smart!" College degrees don't mean you're intelligent, in fact, I'm not sure what they're good for these days. Chris Rock dropped out of high school, I think, and if you've ever listened to his stand up comedy, that man is a genius!
You know what most people care about? Taste, fun, and enjoyment. Awards, accreditation, and accomplishments might make you feel good about yourself, but they don't make you fun nor do they make you enjoyable. If you want people to like you, be nice and don't bore them by talking about how awesome you are. That goes for people and for booze.