When we adopted the “Earn Your Beer” tagline a little over a year ago, we considered some of the perhaps negative connotations it might engender.

We adopted it as a replacement for our previous tagline, “The Magazine of Adventure Culture,” which we thought was a little pretentious, stuffy and long in the tooth.

The “Earn Your Beer” tagline is meant to be a pithy quip, a non-literal motivational message stated in a slightly more, shall we say, spirited, clever way than, “Get Off the Couch!” … in a way that we think captures a large cross-section of outdoor enthusiasts, even if they don’t like or drink beer.

The tagline also dovetails with occasional editorial coverage in ASJ of regional craft breweries, an industry we consider symbiotic in many ways to the outdoor industry. Craft breweries and the folks that appreciate their brews are cut from similar cloth of those that appreciate human-powered outdoor activities — independent, adventurous, eco-conscious. That’s why some advertise with us and other outdoor publications. It’s a copacetic audience.

Implicit in “Earn Your Beer” is that people don’t drink just for drinking’s sake, out of boredom or to get drunk, but as a reward for getting outside, exercising, exploring, etc. We feel that’s a healthy and responsible way to frame it. Contrast this to beer marketing by big national breweries that target sporting events where all people do is sit on their bums andwatch other people play a game.

In defense of beer itself, it is one of the oldest beverages on the planet. It is not an unhealthy beverage. Many studies support the health benefi ts of beer. Only in excess is beer unhealthy. In the long run, used responsibly, beer is arguably better for one’s health than many other drinks including soda, “energy drinks,” and even many popular “sports drinks” marketed to kids, which contain excess amounts of sugar, corn syrup and food coloring that are contributing to our national epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

Furthermore, we intend that “beer” is just a catchword that could be anything that might constitute a post-exercise, post-adventure treat — whether it’s chocolate milk, a glass of wine, a fat burrito, or a place on the couch with the remote. The tagline is not meant to be taken literally, but to help communicate a notion and a spirit.

You are right that beer is not necessary to anything promoted by the magazine. It is completely optional whether you choose to earn your beer or something else. The vast majority of our readership is over 21, and for those that aren’t, we do not think the message encourages underage drinking anymore than beer ads on TV do. Arguably less.

Regardless of these defenses, we understand your concerns about having the EYB motto on our cover. Thus, we have decided to put the question to our readers in this issue’s Switchback reader opinion survey.

Thanks for reading, contributing and writingto express your thoughts.

—Pete Gauvin, editor