Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Craft Beer vs. Crafty Beer

A few weeks ago, the Brewer's Association put out a press release talking about the difference between Craft Beer, as they defined it, and the pseudo-craft beers created by the macro beer outfits (http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/media/press-releases/show?title=craft-vs-crafty-a-statement-from-the-brewers-association).  The point to their press release boils down to these two paragraphs:
The large, multinational brewers appear to be deliberately attempting to blur the lines between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today's small and independent brewers. We call for transparency in brand ownership and for information to be clearly presented in a way that allows beer drinkers to make an informed choice about who brewed the beer they are drinking.

And for those passionate beer lovers out there, we ask that you take the time to familiarize yourself with who is brewing the beer you are drinking. Is it a product of a small and independent brewer? Or is it from a crafty large brewer, seeking to capitalize on the mounting success of small and independent craft brewers?
When I read this, I thought it was interesting, because for the most part the Brewer's Association seems to have tried to not pick fights with the big guys.  I also thought that it was a fair and reasonable way to point out, as they did by name, that some of the brands that are trying to appear to be craft beers, like Blue Moon (originally created by Coors, now owned by SAB Miller) and Shock Top (created by Budweiser, owned by InBev), are not really "craft" beers in the normally accepted sense of the word.  That doesn't mean that they aren't drinkable beers, because they definitely are, but they also aren't the product of a small business owner who irrationally decided to run a brewery (sorry, just checked the mirror). 

But what was interesting is how strong the response was to this press release.  Some of the big brewers, or more often their surrogate spokespeople, cried like stuck pigs over this.  You would think that the Brewer's Association was trying to ban them.  Instead, they were doing what we should all be doing with everything we buy - make an informed decision.

My grandmother told me when I was but a wee lad, "Every dollar you spend is a vote.  A vote for something or a vote against something, but every dollar is a vote."  I have taken that idea seriously my whole life.  I, personally, would always rather vote my dollars on something local.  Check with anyone who has asked me to join them for a cup of coffee at a Starbucks.  I'll drink Starbucks if I'm traveling and can't find something local, but in Spokane when I know several great places to get coffee owned by a Spokanite - no way.

Be informed about what you are buying and where you are buying it.  No one should pay for something thinking their purchase is something it is not.

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