Monday, September 12, 2011

The Craft Delusion

Lately I seem to be spending a lot of time in off-licences, some might call it an occupational hazard, turns out the ones I am in and out of, are pretty cool. One recent visit however left me a little annoyed. The source of my annoyance can be traced to one word, that word: craft. Big breweries just sticking this one simple word on their beer label and suggesting it is craft beer is ridiculous to me and serves to highlight the priority of these breweries, (as if it isn’t blatantly obvious).

People can argue over what the meaning of the word craft is, but to us, craft beer is not just word on a bottle, it’s a community thing. The people that support what we do know us, and understand what we are about; the people that buy and drink our beer, the publicans, the off-licences the other breweries, these are the people that make up this community. These are our friends and our friends’ friends, they are people that have heard about us and are interested in supporting our story. A story of people that enjoy and care about what they do. It is an insult to these people and us to class themselves in the same bracket.

It’s one thing for craft breweries to evolve into relatively big breweries, for example, the Boston Beer Company and the Brooklyn Brewery. This is naturally going to happen when you have a well run brewery making great beer. But when it comes to the big boys seeing the success of smaller breweries, and the demand for the beers they produce, and deciding that they can stick the word craft on their beer and take advantage of this, it just shows a complete lack of understanding for what is happening in the world of craft beer.

For me, it’s like the politician that rolls up in his brand new Merc to insist he is still in touch with his constituents, as far as I am concerned it’s only themselves they are fooling.

All that said, I am strongly of the opinion that no one has the right to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t drink, people should be free to drink what they like. However I know what beer I will be reaching for the next time I fancy craft Irish Pale Ale.

Stephen - Owner, delivery man, head of sales, brewing assistant, event organiser, chief keg washer...


The Beer Nut said...

Great observation. Though, sadly, the likes of Blue Moon shows that it's not only themselves that the industrial brewers are fooling.

Trouble Brewing said...

I actually think they help the rest of us, by raising awareness and opening minds. It doesn't stop me finding it very annoying.



Roy Phillips said...

Don't let it bother you: the industrial brewers' customers will drink what they always drink, they ain't the people who are up for something different, even if it's its manufactured by the same brewery.
Whereas the people who are interested in trying something new, who want a quality product, aren't likely to be taken in.