Many of you are fed up of the recurring question; what is Craft Beer?
I understand why, much more than you might think.
I understand that you think it is nothing more than a marketing term. I know you think I want to keep the debate alive because it matters to my business. You are right, of course.
Even if that is all it is then there are good reasons to be concerned about how we approach the term. Good reasons not only for me, but you, as a beer drinker. In return, your view also matters to me. Therefore I welcome, and enjoy your comments on my blog telling me what you think. Even if sometimes I'm not in agreement, or can't quite see your point, I still enjoy the engagement.
But I think it's much more than just a marketing term. I think it really does mean something to an increasing proportion of beer drinkers. Most importantly the group of people that it matters to are part of the future of beer and cannot be simply dismissed as "hipsters"
I like to think Hardknott makes beer that is different. We try not to conform to the norm, we want to stand out from the crowd. If everyone simply said "we make great beer" then there would be nothing to differentiate one brewer from another.
The term Craft Beer does mean something. Even if exactly what that is remains debated, it does still mean something, and the number of people to whom it means something is increasing.
There are an increasing number of Craft Beer Bars. There are an increasing number of people who are going to those Craft Beer Bars. There are an increasing number of brewers who are calling themselves Craft Brewers in the hope of selling beer to these Craft Beer Bars, aimed at the increasing number of drinkers who are happy to call themselves Craft Beer Drinkers.
There are Craft Beer Festivals. They are very different to the same-old-same-old Real Ale festivals. There are even festivals that might not be overtly Craft Beer Festivals, as such, but do seek out new and interesting beers without pre-conceved and obviously biased selection against those of us who do wear the Craft Beer badge with pride.
There is beer that is excellent beer, made by micro brewers and is very acceptable to a broad audience. It has appeal, but isn't really that much different to beer that was brewed 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, or even 30 years ago. Some people think this is Craft Beer. I disagree. It it is the same-old-same-old which means it is not Craft Beer. It is not what the Craft Beer Drinker wants to drink.
I think the Craft Beer Movement is real. I think its much more than a marketing term, even if it is vague and disputed. It is real and important even if it is abused by some brewers and retailers who seem to think a major Italian brand of beer is Craft Beer.
Keep it Craft.