Membership has Its Privileges: Mug Clubs
During a recent conversation with a brewer/owner friend of mine, we discussed the finer points of establishing a mug club for his brewery. My dad finds humor in my three mug club memberships and points out that there should be some sort of way to put it in my signature block like I do with my professional licenses.
I have no idea what the culture is in other states, but here in Michigan, if you are part of the beer scene, mug club memberships are an important part of establishing your dedication to beer. As I’ve mulled this over for the past few weeks, I witnessed the mug club member (MCM) in his natural environment tonight while visiting New Union Brewery, a brand spanking new establishment in Lowell.
Picture this [read in the voice of Sir David Attenborough]: A couple is cozied up to the bar drinking out of the standard glassware. They are chatting with one of the employees sipping away at their libation. In walks the MCM. After confidently sauntering up to the wall of mugs and swiftly snatching his up in his paw, he begins the stalking of the beer. He does not rush the process. No, that isn’t his way. Instead, he strides slowly but confidently to the empty space next to the couple swinging his mug, held safely in that paw bent at the elbow protectively, all the while leaving the shiny glass on display. He leans in knowingly, head nodding to the barkeep, simultaneously sliding his prized mug for a fill.
Although this is a bit of an exaggeration, this is what played out in my head as it happened. As I discussed with my friend the brewer, people want somewhere to belong. Think of it as the adult version of having the coveted password to the clubhouse. Of course it provides financial perks or other ‘insider’ invitations, but more importantly it is about being one of the cool kids. The mug difficult to obtain? Shit, even more bragging rights. There is something about being one of the first at an up and coming establishment, or standing out in the cold to earn your glassware and that all important number.