Friday, 6 September 2013

Craft beer means nothing outside the beer blogosphere

The title of this post is broadly what some are trying to say. Of course, I don't agree.

Now, perhaps it's true to say that a significant proportion of the general public may not "get" what we are on about. But then, the majority of the general public drink major brand lager by choice, and they most certainly don't like any of that "bitter" when asked if they would like to try something off handpull.

Before someone want's to criticise my overgeneralisation above, I have many times, when been behind a bar, offered a taster of cask beer and had this sort of rebuff.

To get back on topic, although I might be minded to agree that the term Craft Beer is not known by huge numbers of people, I disagree that it is confined to the understanding of a select few. It must be important because some of the big brand owners are trying to use the term too.

I do understand that we might have to disagree on how important the term is. However, there are media type giving the Craft Beer some credence.

A website called The Creative Tourist  has done a piece on Craft Beer. It's difficult for me not to like what they have written. I suspect it will annoy some of you.

12 comments:

Steve Wright said...

This looks eerily like some of the popints being raised in today's Beer Blogging session from Ding at http://www.dingsbeerblog.com/?p=9042

Phil said...

The article's a classic example of the emptiness of marketing speak. If you label a bunch of disparate brewers as 'craft', then you can hang an article on 'craft beer' and fill it by saying how great Allgates, Blackjack, First Chop etc are. And you get a bit of buzz going around those breweries, which is fine. You're still not saying anything. I almost prefer the BD approach, where 'craft' means mad hopping, silly ingredients, stupid pricing and keg dispense only - at least that way it means something. But I didn't find that article annoying so much as boring.

While I composed this comment I got my latest email from the Craft Beer Social Club, announcing their latest social event. As usual you have to scroll down approximately 800 yards to discover that it's in London, as usual. That does annoy me.

Cooking Lager said...

it means f all in the blogosphere too, pal.

John Clarke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Clarke said...

I'm with Phil on this - usual hack stuff you could knock out in your sleep really. The only mildly irritating this is the separation of craft beer and real ale which, as we all know, is essentally cobblers. Obviously written by someone who probably knows bugger all about the subject.

Bailey said...

'...usual hack stuff you could knock out in your sleep really... Obviously written by someone who probably knows bugger all about the subject.'

Ah, now, this is what makes this kind of article interesting, I think. When people who aren't completely obsessed with beer start writing about 'craft beer', it's a sign that it has a life outside the closeted world of the beer geek. The Guardian's 'Beginner's Guide to...' earlier this year was an important signal of 'mainstreaming', a bit like the Daily Mirror's short-lived, not-very-good mid-seventies 'real ale' column.

StringersBeer said...

I particularly like the idea that the "North West" comprises Manchester and "Outside Manchester". You know, like, Millom & Liverpool. It's a regional variation on the "Britain Is Only London" trope.

Gary Gillman said...

I liked the article, and it shows that the craft beer - definitional difficulties aside - is gaining a foothold in the broader food and drink scene, people are starting to notice.

Holt's and Hyde's and Robinson's, all still in situ I assume and doing the great work they've always done, soldier on but now fresh troops are in reserve to keep good beer as a noted detail of English culture.

It matters to those interested - like anything else - but it's getting bigger.

Gary

P.S. A personal bugaboo with a lot of current U.K. beer writing though is to call beers which clearly are using lots of American hops "hoppy". They aren't more hoppy than Holt's bitter, say. It's that the hops are different, have a different taste, certainly the ones used for aroma hopping. They seem more hoppy because different to the norm but it's really just an alternate taste.

RedNev said...

A lazy article, low on facts and high on preconceptions, which is so corporate and bland it could have written by anyone. Craft taking over the world on pint at a time? Funny, then, that I still don't know anywhere it's on sale.

Maxwell Power said...

Apparently "It’s not to be confused with Real Ale (your dad’s pint of Good British Bitter, made according to strict CAMRA guidelines)... craft beer is typically made by independent producers in very small batches".

What a load of rubbish.

Gary Gillman said...

I dunno, I read the piece as saying, so far you've known real beer as probably a pint of Fuller's, or Greene King Abbot, or one of Wells Young line, or Holt's, or Batham's, or Brains, or (to be sure) Black Sheep or one of the older post-CAMRA breweries. But "craft beer" is different, likely to be more like a widely available imported American beer, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or in a style inspired by Belgian or other European traditional brewing - or even a really old English tradition. Different taste, which is typically bottled or on non-handpump draft.

This newer style is (mostly I think) made in very small amounts by independents. It was just a short piece, the general media don't go in for in-depth looks at beer - even the major press don't really do so from what I can see - but it gave a good overview of something gaining legs, IMHO.

Gary

critch said...

your not looking hard enough nev, pi? bar 22? bier? kazamir gardens? inn liverpool? admittedly not many in liverpool as opposed to manchester, but the numbers growing mate and as far as the article im never opposed to a bit of free advertising.....