The Daily Valet. - 3/22/24, Friday

Friday, March 22nd Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
It's nearly the weekend ... I'll drink to that. After work, naturally.

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Today’s Big Story

What Happened to Beer?


Is craft beer cringe? Are flights passé? Did the working man’s brew just get too … fancy?


Earlier generations weren’t picky. A beer to your grandfather and maybe even your dad was a cold refreshment on a hot day or after a long shift at work. It was to be cracked open and drank out of a can or bottle with little to no fanfare. A handful of peanuts was their idea of taking it to the next level. Now, a beer lover is often referred to as an aficionado with esoteric tastes and a lot of opinions on the age-old alcoholic beverage.

And now industry watchers are wondering if it all got a little too specific. Too fancy and fussy. Because it appears to be backfiring for those who make and serve beer. Sales are down—U.S. beer sales volumes have been slowly falling for years. Of course, the decline is not a free fall. Beer is still, by far, the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage by volume. But after the rise of craft beer brought in a whole new generation of regular beer drinkers, the craft beer industry is starting to experience some growing pains that are, well, sobering.

InsideHook wonders if it’s because craft beer has become kind of cringe. They point to the Gen Z kids of craft beer dads, the former roasting the latter’s Untappd habits on TikTok. Or, elsewhere on TikTok: @ihateipas, the ever growing-in-popularity account of Minnesotan Emma Lewis, where she deadpans scorched-earth IPA reviews. It’s important to define what’s eliciting eye rolls. It’s obviously not cringe to take your job seriously if you make beer or work with it; it’s not cringe to enjoy craft beer or even learn about it. But there is a point when something is taken too seriously, right?

They say breweries “taking themselves less seriously and fostering a more inclusive environment can carry craft beer through this out-of-touch period” into an era where it is more embraced by younger generations as well as the OG fans. But maybe not with beer flights.

The once-ubiquitous set of four-ounce tasting pours has been seen by some as an unnecessary holdover and Punch wonders if they’ve become passé. They say the debate flares up within the craft beer community every few years. On one side, “flights cause staff headaches and present carefully brewed beers in a mediocre light. On the other, they’re deemed tools for exploration, a symbol of craft beer’s accessible spirit.” One thing is clear: Craft beer can’t survive without a concerted effort to continue to engage consumers and make meaningful connections with the newest generation of legal drinkers.

Other reasons people say they're drinking less beer include opting for a healthier lifestyle overall, cutting back on calorie consumption, drinking more non-alcoholic beverages, and (of course) the economy.

Trump Is in a Race Against Time to Protect His Fortune


He needs a half billion dollars, and fast, but a big potential windfall has emerged

Donald Trump’s three-day deadline to find nearly half a billion dollars is creating one of the most extraordinary twists ever seen in an American presidential election campaign. If he can’t come up with the cash (to secure a bond that would delay enforcement of the $464 million judgment while he appeals) by Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James could move to seize his assets, including bank accounts or properties such as Trump’s Manhattan office tower or his properties in Westchester County.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that the former president’s new joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee directs donations to his campaign and a political action committee that pays the former president’s legal bills before the RNC gets a cut. The unorthodox diversion of funds to the Save America PAC makes it more likely that Republican donors could see their money go to Trump’s lawyers, who have received at least $76 million over the last two years to defend him against four felony indictments and multiple civil cases. Some Republicans are already troubled that Trump’s takeover of the RNC could shortchange the cash-strapped party.

The Washington Post reports that bankruptcy is one way out of Trump’s financial jam. He doesn’t want to take it, even though it’s “a maneuver Trump has used before—six times.” A federal judge would be charged with the time-consuming task of determining how and when each of his creditors, including the state, would be paid. In the meantime, Trump could focus on his campaign and not the debt. But he has a better option on the horizon: Also on Monday, the parent company of Trump’s social-media company—Truth Social—could become publicly traded under the stock ticker DJT. Because of his ownership stake, this could essentially earn him around $3 billion on paper. The only catch? He can’t sell the shares or borrow against them for six months unless he gets a waiver from the shell company taking Truth Social public.


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U.S. Sues Apple for Illegal Monopoly


Green bubbles, Apple Pay and other reasons why America says Apple is breaking the law

The Justice Department and over a dozen state attorneys general filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple in federal court Thursday, accusing it of illegally maintaining a monopoly in the smartphone market. “Apple exercises its monopoly power to extract more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses, and merchants, among others,” the DOJ wrote. Ouch.

The suit takes the Biden administration's efforts to limit Big Tech's power to a new level, reports Axios—coming on top of major cases against Google, Meta and Amazon. And if this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because this suit is the Justice Department's third against Apple since 2009. But Attorney General Merrick Garland acknowledged the resource imbalance the government is up against, facing a company worth trillions of dollars. And Apple plans to move to dismiss the case, a spokesperson told The Verge.

But if the DOJ is successful, the suit could force Apple to loosen some of the restrictions it has placed on its “walled garden” approach to hardware and software. It could be made to ease up on Apple Pay exclusivity, open up the iPhone to alternative app stores and its technologies like iMessage with Android phones. For instance, those dreaded “green bubbles” that mark Android users within iMessage—and particularly the lower-quality performance—are illegal, the Justice Department alleges.

The company was hit with a $2 billion fine earlier this month for preventing music streaming rivals such as Spotify from offering cheaper deals.

A Weekend Pairing


‘Road House’ + a Bitter Lemon Spritz

Road House


The original Road House has long been the guiltiest of pleasures, a movie that seems to be in a perpetual loop on cable, with Patrick Swayze as the philosopher-bouncer immortalizing lines like “Pain don’t hurt.” A 35-years-later update brings some of that allure to Prime Video, with Jake Gyllenhaal as the reluctant warrior toting a bit more baggage, in a film that’s equal parts entertaining, silly and wildly violent (but not necessarily in that order).

“Kinda sounds like the plot to a western,” someone remarks as Gyllenhaal’s Elwood Dalton arrives in town—ready to clean up the baddest bar on Florida’s Glass Key. The remake (or reimagining) appeals to the same sensibilities as the original: namely our desire to see bullies thumped and psychopaths head-butted into submission. Reviews have been kind and people seem to like it: Vulture called it “perfectly enjoyable schlock,” with action sequences that play like a “live-action Looney Tunes, in which the prospect of sustaining actual physical damage seems distant until it abruptly is not.”

Pair It With


The road house calls for beer, but since we’re civilized gents, we’re going to class it up by mixing up a bitter lemon spritz, a take on an Italian aperitivo spritz that swaps sparkling wine for light lager.

Also Worth a Watch:
‘3 Body Problem’ on Netflix; ‘Photographer’ on Disney+


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Morning Motto

Prioritize consistency.






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