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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Crispy275 on December 13, 2012, 02:57:18 PM

Title: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: Crispy275 on December 13, 2012, 02:57:18 PM
An editorial in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/craft-or-crafty-consumers-deserve-to-know-the-truth/article_e34ce949-d34a-5b0f-ba92-9e6db5a3ed99.html) states that if you think craft breweries are a good force in America, then take the time to familiarize yourself with who is brewing the beer you are drinking and support them.

 “It makes a difference. By supporting small and independent craft brewers across the country, we are giving them a chance to thrive in business, create more jobs, boost the economy and compete against the massive corporations that have controlled the market for so long.”

Just two international conglomerates (SAB Miller – London, and A-B InBev - Belgium), control most of the 2nd tier of beer distribution. AB InBev is attempting to expand its reach with a deal that could result in 80% of all U.S. beer distributors being controlled in one fashion or another by these two.

As homebrewers, it may not seem intuitive that we have any “skin in the game”, and perhaps we don’t in the same context of the 2,100+ craft brewers in the US. But as the pipeline for future craft brewers, and as some of the most passionate Evang-ALE-ists, we can and should be concerned about the issues presented in this piece, and we should definitely consider how we support our brethren who wear rubber boots!

If you agree with this sentiment, please read the article and chime in with support. Share it via Facebook, Twitter and amongst your friends and others who you believe this message resonates with.  Make an extra effort this holiday season to visit one of your local, small, traditional and independent craft brewers. Support them and share instagram photos drinking a true indie craft beer. Demand indie craft beer choices at the stores and restaurants you frequent.

I believe that this matters to homebrewers, beer enthusiasts, and to the long term health and diversity of craft brewers here in the US.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: ultravista on December 13, 2012, 03:13:45 PM
An interesting read. I didn't realize that Kona was absorbed by the beer borg.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 13, 2012, 04:09:01 PM
I get it.  I get the distinction and why the BA wants to make the distinction.

But I have a conceptual hard time with saying that Goose Island beers are not true craft beers.  "Faux-craft" seems unnecessarily derisive.  I've been going there since the first opened the brew pub and they make some truly great beers.

Maybe I'm clinging to nostalgia, because I know they've been bought, I know that a lot of their beers are brewed elsewhere, I know that some of the long-time brewers are jumping ship and branching out on their own, but I still think that they make some great craft beers (Matlida, Pere Jacques, their Bourbon County stuff).

I can see calling Blue Moon and Shock Top "faux-craft" but at least until I see/taste a significant change in the beers at Goose Island I don't think that label fits.

With all that said, I'm still more likely to buy some Bell's or North Coast than I am Goose Island, so I'm on board with the overall concept.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: erockrph on December 13, 2012, 04:24:10 PM
I'm waiting for the quality of Goose Island to tank, but as long as the beer remains high-quality I don't really care who owns them.

I've been waiting for the quality of Scharffen Berger chocolate to take a nosedive since Hershey took them over, but nothing yet (IMO). Sometimes a major conglomerate knows to leave well enough alone (at least for a while), so I just take it as a sign to be cautious for dips in quality and not the immediate end.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: BrewingRover on December 13, 2012, 04:27:45 PM
I'm less concerned with the faux-craft labeling than the fact that the big boys control so much of the distribution network. That's really where they can kill off the smaller guys.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: wactuary on December 13, 2012, 04:28:27 PM
While I agree with the sentiment, I do not understand the barrels per year as a "definition" of craft, so I have trouble crossing a beer from the craft credential because that brew is owned by someone who brews "too much".  BA can choose to define it as they wish, but if Sam or Sierra exceed those limits while maintaining their quality and corporate philosophy as they have so far, I don't get it.

I've seen beer wars. I understand the influence of the mega brewers and their potential to undercut and push out the local guy. I agree. But maybe the term "craft brew" has outlived it's usefulness and a new label is in order. "small batch?"  "independent?". It may be that we are drifting to choosing brand on political and philosophical views and not on taste, ingredients or quality.

I personally never thought the "crafty" beers met the taste/quality standard of the real "craft" choices, buy with Kona or Goose Island, or Ommegang, who "sold out" to the foreign Duvel conglomerate, the line really is blurry.

Just my two cents.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 13, 2012, 04:34:06 PM
I'm less concerned with the faux-craft labeling than the fact that the big boys control so much of the distribution network. That's really where they can kill off the smaller guys.

They own the production, though, not the distribution.  Owning so much of the production gives them a lot of weight with the distributors, I'm sure, but the distribution laws and three tier system are a whole different subject that has an impact on the retail availability of craft beers.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: tomsawyer on December 13, 2012, 04:46:57 PM
A friend was just telling me about AB's "Project 12" lineup.  He enjoyed one of the beers thought I'd be interested.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that I wouldn't touch it because of the fake craft beer thing.  I suppose I should let him know though.  One of the beers was supposed to have a little oak in it, that was the only one that was even mildly interesting.

I look forward to going back to the good ol' days model of having a brewpub or two in every town.  I don't buy a lot of packaged beer anyway just because I make so much of my own.  When I look on the shelves at a good liquor store, it amazes how many breweries are pumping out bottled beer.  I don't see how any of them makes a buck really.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: gsandel on December 13, 2012, 05:11:28 PM
Being originally from Detroit (the son of a son of a son of autoworkers), it does matter to me where my products are made, by whom, and who owns the company.  I also care about who I do business with.  My beer, if not made in my basement, is usally from less than 50 miles from my house, often by people I know personnaly.  When I buy packaged beer, it comes from my local bottle shop who take the time to talk to me about what I like and want, and are knowledgable about the items in their coolers.

Do I pay more? Perhaps sometimes, but I also get fantastic service and occasional discounts.  I also bring my friends around and it works to everyone's benefit.

I also don't have a problem with globalization, consolidation, and industrial manufacturing, and profit when it doesn't come at the expense of the quality, the consumer, or the workers.  I also worry that they will put a crimp on the ingredient supply chain....which both small craft brewers as well as homebrewers rely on.  Imagine not being able to get the hops or specialty malts to brew fantastic beer.....the horror!
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: mabrungard on December 13, 2012, 05:27:54 PM
The barrel limit is a thoroughly flawed concept by which to gauge a craft brew.  With continuing market penetration, there will be plenty of breweries that exceed that threshold in the near future.  I think that BA just boosted the output barrel limits so that some of the current BA members could still be called craft. 

And the thing is that a large market share is exactly what we craft beer drinkers would like to see in the future.  More folks interested in drinking beer with flavor!  That could mean better beer in more places. 

I have a big problem with the contention that a craft beer sellout that is bought by a brewing conglomerate suddenly is no longer a 'craft brewer'.  I contend that the definition of a craft brewer is one that produces beer that has flavor.  Several of the examples cited in that article are imitation beers with dumbed down flavor...Shock Top, Blue Moon, etc.  Those are beers that are 'crafty' and not craft.   Considering that these conglomerates probably have access to the finest equipment, materials, and staff, they could make the finest beers in the world.  But that is not what the market currently wants.  The masses want dumbed down beer.  The majority wants the mere essence of malt and a glimmer of hops, all delivered in a brilliant golden liquid with foam on top. 

Clearly, our craft brewing industry does need promotion and protection since the mega brewers could dominate that segment instantly if they so choose.  So I appreciate the move by BA to promote and distinguish the craft beer industry from the mega brewers.  BA should probably be a little more exacting in their promotion of the little guys without stepping on the big boys toes.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: gsandel on December 13, 2012, 05:31:46 PM
BA should probably be a little more exacting in their promotion of the little guys without stepping on the big boys toes

Nicely put, I would agree.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: dunleav1 on December 13, 2012, 05:48:35 PM
How can Goose Island not considered to be craft beer? It was okay to drink Goose Island 3 years ago, but not now based on who owns them? Please stop.

I disagree with the AHA decision to picture small adjunct brewers in a negative light.
So companies that make beer styles other than American Lager are not craft beer? Straub is a small Pennsylvania brewery that I'm sure struggles to survive.

I understand the attempt, but the AHA needs to "craft" a better message than this...
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: alcaponejunior on December 13, 2012, 05:55:54 PM
While there might be a few flawed concepts in the article, I overall agree with the premise.  I do try to buy small brewery and local offerings as much as I can.  I also try to avoid most offerings that I know are inbev or sabmiller etc (tho that's not hard to do most of the time).  The bottom line is that I want small craft breweries to succeed, thus, I will buy their beers and hope that my modest contribution helps a little.  I will of course promote and share the best of them too. 

if this is straight up true...

Quote
The large brewers employ 25,000 people in their stateside brewing facilities and, undoubtedly, in cities like Milwaukee, Denver and St. Louis, these jobs are important to the local economies. But across the entire U.S., small and independent craft brewers employ more than 103,500 Americans in local, Main Street jobs.

...then it's even more reason to support your local brewery, something I think a lot of us on these beer forums already do anyway.  I suspect the language used by the author was a bit "emotive," but the sentiment would still hold provided the statistic is valid. 
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: weithman5 on December 13, 2012, 06:08:06 PM
I'm waiting for the quality of Goose Island to tank, but as long as the beer remains high-quality I don't really care who owns them.

I've been waiting for the quality of Scharffen Berger chocolate to take a nosedive since Hershey took them over, but nothing yet (IMO). Sometimes a major conglomerate knows to leave well enough alone (at least for a while), so I just take it as a sign to be cautious for dips in quality and not the immediate end.

 I really only drink a few of their beers, and primarily use the 312 to make my own shandy.  I doubt the quality dips much though, because the brewers at AB do put out quality products, just not of the styles many of us enjoy..  I still enjoy budweiser, it is just i have this problem with them having been sold to the belgians.....

Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: morticaixavier on December 13, 2012, 06:39:04 PM
[...] 

if this is straight up true...

Quote
The large brewers employ 25,000 people in their stateside brewing facilities and, undoubtedly, in cities like Milwaukee, Denver and St. Louis, these jobs are important to the local economies. But across the entire U.S., small and independent craft brewers employ more than 103,500 Americans in local, Main Street jobs.

...then it's even more reason to support your local brewery, something I think a lot of us on these beer forums already do anyway.  I suspect the language used by the author was a bit "emotive," but the sentiment would still hold provided the statistic is valid.

I was just going to post that quote.

Just ruff back of apkin math, if the 75% of the beer market in america that is controlled by the big guys were in the hands of small indie brewers that would mean around 725,000 new jobs! that's huge!
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: udubdawg on December 13, 2012, 06:54:42 PM
"They sell these beers through their strong distribution channels, but market these faux-craft beers as if they were from independent, locally owned craft breweries."

This sentence, or at least the part I bolded, just seems like hyperbole.  Absence of a prominent "big beer" logo on a bottle - sure.  Actually pretending to be something they are not? - I don't see it. 
Remember the old Bud campaign that said "It's not heavy like an import" and "Darker heavier beers could hide flaws" - I didn't see any craft beer uproar.  if we are worried that someone will be fooled and enjoy a "faux-craft" beer why weren't we worried about the big companies perpetuating consumer lack of knowledge with further misinformation?
Instead of ridiculing craft beer they are imitating it.

Wasn't Blue Moon created at Sandlot?  I don't like that particular beer but those guys do an amazing job IMO. I have no use for Coors Light but I wouldn't hesitate for a second to get another What The Helles Bill just based on who their owner is.

This article would be better limited to distribution IMO.  Make sure the kinds of practices that shut small breweries out are outlawed.  Give everyone a fair chance.  Everyone wants that, and it's reasonable.  But it's not like the little guys are the only ones allowed to make "good" beer.  And the concept that a brewery loses craft status overnight when bought by a big brewery is ridiculous to me.

I'm going to assume that most breweries that were started in decades past thought they could make better beer than what was being offered.  And I know several of us have asked Gordon how to get medals and been told to make better beer.   ;D
Same goes for the pros.  Make better beer.  If the faux-craft version is better than what you make, do better.  If it isn't, count on your consumers to make the right choice.  Again, assuming you have market access...
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: mabrungard on December 13, 2012, 06:55:11 PM
Just ruff back of apkin math, if the 75% of the beer market in america that is controlled by the big guys were in the hands of small indie brewers that would mean around 725,000 new jobs! that's huge!

Not quite, this was an apples to oranges comparison.  I have the feeling that the 100,000 plus jobs mentioned in the article include all staff involved in getting grain, water, and hops to the consumer and getting them to buy it (read: marketing staff too).  I read the 25,000 folks as just being at the breweries for the mega brewers.  They have a bunch more folks involved with distributing and marketing that would then dwarf the number applied to the craft breweries.  I think this was a bit of a ruse, but since most readers don't get into the details, it serves the point that the craft industry has an important impact on jobs too.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: denny on December 13, 2012, 07:12:08 PM
I understand the attempt, but the AHA needs to "craft" a better message than this...

Please keep in mind that the definition comes from the BA, not the AHA.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: beersk on December 13, 2012, 09:00:58 PM
I understand the attempt, but the AHA needs to "craft" a better message than this...

Please keep in mind that the definition comes from the BA, not the AHA.
All these acronyms, I read BA as Beer Advocate for the first half of this thread. D'oh! There's also the American Heart Association...

Anyway, Goose Island is definitely still craft beer in my mind. It doesn't matter who they're owned by, it's where they came from. And Goose came from a small operation founded on craft beer, just as Sam Adam's did. I still consider that craft beer. But that's just like my opinion, man.
But when a brewery is founded on light, fizzy yellow beer and wants to fit in by making not light, fizzy yellow beer, well that's just not craft brewing at all. That's just douchebaggery because they're afraid a few people are going to stop drinking their beer. I don't touch the stuff anymore. Plus none of that stuff is brewed with any passion or anything new to contribute to the beer world. I follow Denny's sentiments, you only get one liver, destroy it wisely.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: weithman5 on December 13, 2012, 09:06:43 PM
I understand the attempt, but the AHA needs to "craft" a better message than this...

Please keep in mind that the definition comes from the BA, not the AHA.
All these acronyms, I read BA as Beer Advocate for the first half of this thread. D'oh! There's also the American Heart Association...

Anyway, Goose Island is definitely still craft beer in my mind. It doesn't matter who they're owned by, it's where they came from. And Goose came from a small operation founded on craft beer, just as Sam Adam's did. I still consider that craft beer. But that's just like my opinion, man.
But when a brewery is founded on light, fizzy yellow beer and wants to fit in by making not light, fizzy yellow beer, well that's just not craft brewing at all. That's just douchebaggery because they're afraid a few people are going to stop drinking their beer. I don't touch the stuff anymore. Plus none of that stuff is brewed with any passion or anything new to contribute to the beer world. I follow Denny's sentiments, you only get one liver, destroy it wisely.

i am not convinced of this.  clearly they are trying to make a buck, but the brewers, are after all brewers, and they may like brewing other than their normal, just like we do.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: bluesman on December 13, 2012, 09:07:23 PM
Thanks for posting Crispy.  This is a great article that really sheds light on the fact that craft does make a real difference and continues to make strides forward.  Let's hope that craft continues it's path forward for the betterment of us all.  I plan to continue to support our indie craft friends.  Not only is it my belief, but craft beer quality speaks for itself.  :)
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: anthony on December 13, 2012, 09:34:45 PM
They own the production, though, not the distribution.  Owning so much of the production gives them a lot of weight with the distributors, I'm sure, but the distribution laws and three tier system are a whole different subject that has an impact on the retail availability of craft beers.

Not completely true. In Illinois for instance, AB owns a 30% stake in a holding company that has four licenses to distribute beer in Illinois. And there are several other instances of similar situations with bigger craft brewers as well. Windy City distribution was started by the Two Brothers owners and until a year or so ago was completely owned by them too (they recently changed the ownership to comply with changes to Illinois liquor law).

AB is increasingly and sometimes successfully arguing that if craft brewers, microbrewers, etc. can self-distribute, it should be able to self-distribute as well... of course they have to walk a fine line and not piss off all those distributorship lobbyists too.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: beersk on December 13, 2012, 09:41:23 PM
I understand the attempt, but the AHA needs to "craft" a better message than this...

Please keep in mind that the definition comes from the BA, not the AHA.
All these acronyms, I read BA as Beer Advocate for the first half of this thread. D'oh! There's also the American Heart Association...

Anyway, Goose Island is definitely still craft beer in my mind. It doesn't matter who they're owned by, it's where they came from. And Goose came from a small operation founded on craft beer, just as Sam Adam's did. I still consider that craft beer. But that's just like my opinion, man.
But when a brewery is founded on light, fizzy yellow beer and wants to fit in by making not light, fizzy yellow beer, well that's just not craft brewing at all. That's just douchebaggery because they're afraid a few people are going to stop drinking their beer. I don't touch the stuff anymore. Plus none of that stuff is brewed with any passion or anything new to contribute to the beer world. I follow Denny's sentiments, you only get one liver, destroy it wisely.

i am not convinced of this.  clearly they are trying to make a buck, but the brewers, are after all brewers, and they may like brewing other than their normal, just like we do.
What aren't you convinced of? That Anheuser-Busch making something other than light lager is craft beer? What are they crafting? They aren't adding anything to the beer world, in fact, they're taking it away by making weaker, less flavorful versions of real craft beers.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 13, 2012, 09:42:57 PM
The only reason putting a barrel limit on "craft beer" makes any sense is if you don't really want everyone to be able to enjoy "craft" beer. It's not likely, and maybe not even feasible, for small breweries to supply all of the beer in country. So if your goal is to keep "craft" beer something small and exclusive, so you can feel like a cool person for drinking it, then exclude the big makers.

What is the BA's plan when small breweries get big because people like their beer? Keeping bumping up the allowable barrels? Boston beer co and New Belgium are already big breweries in their own right.

I think it's great that small brewers are putting pressure on big brewers to make better beer.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: weithman5 on December 13, 2012, 10:25:27 PM

What aren't you convinced of? That Anheuser-Busch making something other than light lager is craft beer? What are they crafting? They aren't adding anything to the beer world, in fact, they're taking it away by making weaker, less flavorful versions of real craft beers.


Is it that you just don't like american lagers.  hard time calling them just weak.  bud ice (i agree yuck) comes in at 5.5%.  in terms of non light lagers the mich amber bock is a servicable beer and comes in at 5.2%.  take this and plain budweiser over a regular guinness any day.  (not over something like a stockyard oatmeal stout or a rasputin)  i just don't think everything they brew sucks, nor do i like everything that Sierra nevada, goose island, or Sam Adams makes.  I would take a red seal amber over any of the above, but i would drink a budweiser before i drink another abita purple haze.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: tubercle on December 13, 2012, 10:54:58 PM
This is an interesting thread and I agree with most....

 Usually on my way home from work on Fridays I stop at the local grocer and get a 6'er of beer from one of the 2 local craft breweries, Thomas Creek (http://www.thomascreekbeer.com) or R J Rockers (http://www.rjrockers.com/verify.asp) but I am standing in line to check out with a multitude of BMC. Bud Light is still the #1 seller I believe.

 For some reason folks crave "triple hopped" rice beer instead of a good IPA or tasty barley made drink. I think this is changing though and the big conglomerates want to jump in but don't want to let the cash cows to wander loose. Give the BMC crowd something too good and you will lose the high margin sale. They will like and want the better product but will not want to pay the premium so they are hitting the middle ground.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: morticaixavier on December 13, 2012, 11:02:37 PM
The only reason putting a barrel limit on "craft beer" makes any sense is if you don't really want everyone to be able to enjoy "craft" beer. It's not likely, and maybe not even feasible, for small breweries to supply all of the beer in country. So if your goal is to keep "craft" beer something small and exclusive, so you can feel like a cool person for drinking it, then exclude the big makers.

What is the BA's plan when small breweries get big because people like their beer? Keeping bumping up the allowable barrels? Boston beer co and New Belgium are already big breweries in their own right.

I think it's great that small brewers are putting pressure on big brewers to make better beer.

I disagree with your idea that small breweries couldn't supply all beer drinkers. We just need more small breweries to do it. This increases employement. it also drives prices up on high quality agricultural products which benefits farmers
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: tubercle on December 13, 2012, 11:18:20 PM

I disagree with your idea that small breweries couldn't supply all beer drinkers. We just need more small breweries to do it. This increases employement. it also drives prices up on high quality agricultural products which benefits farmers

 Before refridigerated transportation all beer drinkers were supplied by small breweries. Every city/town/village/hamlet had one or several, depending on the population. There were thousands of them.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 14, 2012, 12:10:23 AM
I disagree with your idea that small breweries couldn't supply all beer drinkers. We just need more small breweries to do it. This increases employement. it also drives prices up on high quality agricultural products which benefits farmers

 Before refridigerated transportation all beer drinkers were supplied by small breweries. Every city/town/village/hamlet had one or several, depending on the population. There were thousands of them.

There used to be thousands of small farmers too, and cobblers, and tailors. That's just not how the world works anymore, and it's not likely the world will work that way ever again.

Craft beer is what, 5% of the market? I don't see how it can grow to the point it supplies even a majority of the beer consumed. 10-15% per year won't cut it. Craft beer needs macro beer, it needs to be the underdog, because if everyone does it, it's not unique anymore.

Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: garc_mall on December 14, 2012, 01:54:22 AM
I do agree that consumers have a right to know what is going in their bottles, and part of that is where the beer was brewed. However, I believe that it has more to do with what's inside the bottle, rather than what's outside the bottle.

Especially when we are talking about Goose Island or Craft Brewer's Alliance, we all need to pay attention to what's inside the bottle. If Goose Island stays making really good beer, IMO, it's still a craft brewery. I know CBA is producing really great beer (including at GABF and NHC). I think CBA is moving more toward a New Belgium style where they make huge amounts of their standard beers (kind of "Meh" similar to NB standards) and they do one-off beers (Widmer Brewmaster's Series, Red Hook Blueline Series) that are really great. I haven't had Goose Island beers yet (they just got here, thanks to the Bud distribution network) but if they maintain the same style that they are known for, I still think its great. I still support my local businesses (Beer or otherwise, I like to meet the people who own businesses I support), but Red Hook is rather local to me.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 14, 2012, 02:06:41 AM
Especially when we are talking about Goose Island or Craft Brewer's Alliance, we all need to pay attention to what's inside the bottle.

This is true.

As far as Goose goes, I haven't seen it fall off yet.  But I do think it's possible, if not likely, that it will.

My biggest concern with consolidation is that corporate interest will dilute the brands and the beers with the goal of producing the product cheaper.  We already have Beck's being made in America, and poorly at that.  I believe InBev has also begun cutting back or substituting some ingredients on Budweiser.  In this respect, consolidation could be the death nell of some long time brands, but that's just an opportunity for micros.  This, however, is off topic from the original post.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 14, 2012, 02:28:07 AM
I don't really buy the idea that micro brewers are really competing with macros. Lamborghini doesn't compete with Ford. Craft beer only works because it's a premium product at a premium price. There's a huge perceived quality dimension, as you can see with people who flat out refuse to buy anything a macro brewery touched, like Goose Island or Red Hook.

Here's an interesting article I came across talking about various "craft" industries in America: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/02/15/146919498/don-t-mock-the-artisanal-pickle-makers
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: BrewingRover on December 14, 2012, 04:02:14 AM
I don't really buy the idea that micro brewers are really competing with macros. Lamborghini doesn't compete with Ford. Craft beer only works because it's a premium product at a premium price. There's a huge perceived quality dimension, as you can see with people who flat out refuse to buy anything a macro brewery touched, like Goose Island or Red Hook.

That's a really good point. The vast majority of fizzy yellow lager drinkers aren't drinking for taste, they're drinking for the buzz.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: bboy9000 on December 14, 2012, 04:39:13 AM
I don't really buy the idea that micro brewers are really competing with macros. Lamborghini doesn't compete with Ford. Craft beer only works because it's a premium product at a premium price. There's a huge perceived quality dimension, as you can see with people who flat out refuse to buy anything a macro brewery touched, like Goose Island or Red Hook.

That's a really good point. The vast majority of fizzy yellow lager drinkers aren't drinking for taste, they're drinking for the buzz.

Some people drink for both reasons- get a buzz while drinking some good brew paired with some good food.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: theoman on December 14, 2012, 08:32:41 AM
The first entry for "craft" in the Oxford Online Dictionary is the original meaning of the word: Strength, power, might, force. It would seem we got it all wrong. AB and the like are the true craft brewers.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 14, 2012, 02:39:47 PM
I don't really buy the idea that micro brewers are really competing with macros. Lamborghini doesn't compete with Ford.

Where they are competing is for the drinker who thinks they'll try something craft and picks a Blue Moon instead of a Hoegarden... oh wait.  Instead of an Allagash white, perhaps.  In this instance, the big brewers have been "crafty" and poached a consumer who might otherwise have tried a craft beer.

I can see the concern with that.  But I can also see where maybe Blue Moon is like the gateway drug to better beer.  Hopefully, people who drink it and like it try other Belgian-style beers and eventually wind up buying a four pack of Westy 12 for $350 on eBay.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: morticaixavier on December 14, 2012, 03:54:19 PM
I think it might be worthwhile to examine this idea that the macros make cheap, fizzy yellow water because that's what the consumer really wants. I disagree with that idea as well. It's not how market forces work. Yes if they made a beer that actually tasted like piss that would be one thing. But as was pointed out in an article that I think was posted on here at some point, since the 1970's budweiser has reduced the amount of hops in it's beer by 2/3. It's not because the consumer demanded a less hoppy brew it's just that AB found that if they reduced the hop presence bit by bit they could trick their consumers into drinking less hoppy beer AND reduce the cost of production and thus increase profits.

Humans are alarmingly susceptable to suggestion and the macros maintain their dominance of the market by hammering their brands into our heads all the time not by maintaining the very best quality product in their segment. Quality can't drop below a certain point where the product becomes actually disgusting to the majority of it's consumers but beyond that profit margins rule.

I think this might be the real differentiator between 'craft' and 'crafty' or perhaps between 'craft' and 'crap'  ;)

you average small brewery wants to make the very best beer they are able to within the contraints of the market and hope to make a solid profit from doing this (which they very often do, quality still speaks loudly to a certain segment of the market who are listening). The macros hope to maximize profit on all of their product lines period. If AB can show through focus groups, tasting panels, or what have you that Goose Island with less hops or more adjuncts, or less costly ingredients is substantially the same as Goose island with the proper amount of hops, no adjuncts (except where appropriate) and the highest quality ingredients they will do so.

so Craft = doing something for the joy and love of doing something really well and Crafty = doing something as cleverly and, sometimes, deceptivly as possible in order to maximize profit.

at least that's sort of how I see it.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 14, 2012, 05:19:26 PM
I think Sam Adam's Boston lager is uninspiring, as is Fat Tire. I'd drink Blue Moon before either of those.

I take issue with the idea that because something is small, it's better, and because something is local, it's better. Craft brewers aren't selflessly producing beer just for the love of brewing. That's what homebrewers do. Craft brewers need to make money (except for the monks at Westy), and if making good beer happens to be how you do that, that's nice.

When crappy brewpubs making crappy beer, should we support them just because they're the local underdog?

All the big "craft" breweries (New Belgium, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, etc) use basically the same marketing plan: make a whole bunch of beer that's middling and inoffensive, and make a little bit of beer that's legitimately "great." The big craft brewers want to have it both ways, where they can make themselves seem like magnanimous artisans, even while they make most of their money off high-volume, middle quality beer.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 14, 2012, 05:24:39 PM
I think it might be worthwhile to examine this idea that the macros make cheap, fizzy yellow water because that's what the consumer really wants. I disagree with that idea as well. It's not how market forces work. Yes if they made a beer that actually tasted like piss that would be one thing. But as was pointed out in an article that I think was posted on here at some point, since the 1970's budweiser has reduced the amount of hops in it's beer by 2/3. It's not because the consumer demanded a less hoppy brew it's just that AB found that if they reduced the hop presence bit by bit they could trick their consumers into drinking less hoppy beer AND reduce the cost of production and thus increase profits.

Humans are alarmingly susceptable to suggestion and the macros maintain their dominance of the market by hammering their brands into our heads all the time not by maintaining the very best quality product in their segment. Quality can't drop below a certain point where the product becomes actually disgusting to the majority of it's consumers but beyond that profit margins rule.

Can you explain why the German Pilsners have lost a lot of IBUs over the same period?
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: tomsawyer on December 14, 2012, 05:53:05 PM
It all traces back to the Keystone commercial about bitter beer face.  Nobody wants to look like that dude.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 14, 2012, 06:02:57 PM
I'm worried that if BMC makes better beer, I won't be able to sneer derisively at their customers for their lack of "proper" taste. I can keep judging people by their taste in music and clothes, though, right?
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: bluesman on December 14, 2012, 06:11:21 PM
I don't think the large brewers will be able to successfully compete over the long haul in the Craft arena. Try as they may, but their agenda does not coincide with that of craft. Quality vs. Quantity.

Check out this article for some more perspective from the large brewer.

http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/12/12/sabmiller-big-beer-craft-brewers/?source=linkedin&goback=%2Egde_92612_member_195635908

Two mugs up for Craft!  :)
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: weithman5 on December 14, 2012, 06:21:26 PM
i am going to stop using the term craft and macro.  just going to use enjoyable versus not enjoyable. 
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: morticaixavier on December 14, 2012, 06:26:07 PM
I think it might be worthwhile to examine this idea that the macros make cheap, fizzy yellow water because that's what the consumer really wants. I disagree with that idea as well. It's not how market forces work. Yes if they made a beer that actually tasted like piss that would be one thing. But as was pointed out in an article that I think was posted on here at some point, since the 1970's budweiser has reduced the amount of hops in it's beer by 2/3. It's not because the consumer demanded a less hoppy brew it's just that AB found that if they reduced the hop presence bit by bit they could trick their consumers into drinking less hoppy beer AND reduce the cost of production and thus increase profits.

Humans are alarmingly susceptable to suggestion and the macros maintain their dominance of the market by hammering their brands into our heads all the time not by maintaining the very best quality product in their segment. Quality can't drop below a certain point where the product becomes actually disgusting to the majority of it's consumers but beyond that profit margins rule.

Can you explain why the German Pilsners have lost a lot of IBUs over the same period?

many of them have been purchased by the big conglomerates haven't they? Cost of hops has gone up, focus groups show that 'most' consumers can't tell the difference or don't mind?

Has it been done as a gradual reduction as AB did? or all at once with associated marekting to tell us how the beer is now better and less bitter?
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: redbeerman on December 14, 2012, 07:20:30 PM
There is hardly anything in the World that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people that consider price only are that man's lawful prey~John Ruskin - English Philosopher (1819-1900)
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 14, 2012, 07:45:51 PM
I think it might be worthwhile to examine this idea that the macros make cheap, fizzy yellow water because that's what the consumer really wants. I disagree with that idea as well. It's not how market forces work. Yes if they made a beer that actually tasted like piss that would be one thing. But as was pointed out in an article that I think was posted on here at some point, since the 1970's budweiser has reduced the amount of hops in it's beer by 2/3. It's not because the consumer demanded a less hoppy brew it's just that AB found that if they reduced the hop presence bit by bit they could trick their consumers into drinking less hoppy beer AND reduce the cost of production and thus increase profits.

Humans are alarmingly susceptable to suggestion and the macros maintain their dominance of the market by hammering their brands into our heads all the time not by maintaining the very best quality product in their segment. Quality can't drop below a certain point where the product becomes actually disgusting to the majority of it's consumers but beyond that profit margins rule.

Can you explain why the German Pilsners have lost a lot of IBUs over the same period?

many of them have been purchased by the big conglomerates haven't they? Cost of hops has gone up, focus groups show that 'most' consumers can't tell the difference or don't mind?

Has it been done as a gradual reduction as AB did? or all at once with associated marekting to tell us how the beer is now better and less bitter?

The Oxford Companion has some statistics for the industry. The min, average and max for the large samples tested over the years has gone down across the board. I think the brewers are chasing the customer's taste. If you are an old fart like me you can remember that bitter things had a larger part in life, even in thing like Horehound candy. Cheaper sugar now is used to make almost everything sweet.

I can post the data later. Busy with starters now.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: redbeerman on December 14, 2012, 09:07:38 PM
I believe I read somewhere that they have cut the bitterness down to reach a wider market.  More women drink beer now than in the past and I know around my house, bitter beer does not cut it with the ladies.  More for me, I guess. 8)
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: MDixon on December 14, 2012, 09:34:08 PM
August Schell responds
http://beerpulse.com/2012/12/august-schell-brewing-to-ba-in-response-to-craft-vs-crafty-shame-on-you/

Kinda interesting that they once brewed Three Floyds Alpha King at AS. I guess back then TF wasn't craft? ;)
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 14, 2012, 09:40:45 PM
August Schell responds
http://beerpulse.com/2012/12/august-schell-brewing-to-ba-in-response-to-craft-vs-crafty-shame-on-you/

Kinda interesting that they once brewed Three Floyds Alpha King at AS. I guess back then TF wasn't craft? ;)

My favorite line: "For you to say that the three oldest, family-owned breweries in America are “not traditional” is downright disrespectful, rude and quite frankly, embarrassing."

I didn't realize they put out a poster blacklisting so many "adjunct" brewers like that. WTF is the BA thinking, saying that adjuncts are not 'traditional' in a light American lager?
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: markaberrant on December 14, 2012, 09:42:08 PM
August Schell responds
http://beerpulse.com/2012/12/august-schell-brewing-to-ba-in-response-to-craft-vs-crafty-shame-on-you/

LOVE IT!
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 14, 2012, 10:26:58 PM
I use a lot of corn in various homebrews, and started playing with rice. Just saying.

As for the IBU's in German Pilsners. data from OCB, page 388, anaylsis by the VLB of hundred tested yearly.

year Min Avg Max IBUs
1973 16, 34, 50
1995 no entry, 30, no entry
2005 no entry, 27, no entry
2008 13, 26, 37

For comparison World Beer Cup 30 to 40 IBUs
BJCP 25 to 45 IBU

Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: morticaixavier on December 14, 2012, 10:37:33 PM
See it's gradual. You make gradual changes you your recipe when you DON'T want your consumers to notice. If you are doing it to pull in new customers you make the keystone "bitter beer face" ad campaign. I stick by my hypothesis that these changes are driven exclusivly by profit margins and not by quality concerns.

I am not saying that small artisinal brewers are doing it purely for the love of the thing but I am saying that the standards a company chooses to hold itself to has a lot to do with the end quality of their products. And the big boys in the industry choose to hold themselves to standards that seem more driven by profit motive than by taste.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: weithman5 on December 14, 2012, 10:55:04 PM
yeah, i gots to find some of their beer. i agree that it is somewhat off that corn and rice are adjuncts and that wheat and rye, oatmeal, etc get a pass.  i also believe that just because a beer hasn't had the hell hopped out of it (that sounds kind of naughty) that it isn't a good beer.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: morticaixavier on December 14, 2012, 10:57:49 PM
yeah, i gots to find some of their beer. i agree that it is somewhat off that corn and rice are adjuncts and that wheat and rye, oatmeal, etc get a pass.  i also believe that just because a beer hasn't had the hell hopped out of it (that sounds kind of naughty) that it isn't a good beer.

+1. nothing wrong with corn and rice in their place. I kind of like the hitacho nest red rice ale. and there are lots of low hop beers I like.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: weithman5 on December 14, 2012, 11:22:54 PM
just checked schell's web site. does not appear to be in illinois, oddly though i have a neighbor that had brought home some of the grain belt premium which is actually pretty good.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 14, 2012, 11:43:37 PM
See it's gradual. You make gradual changes you your recipe when you DON'T want your consumers to notice. If you are doing it to pull in new customers you make the keystone "bitter beer face" ad campaign. I stick by my hypothesis that these changes are driven exclusivly by profit margins and not by quality concerns.

I am not saying that small artisinal brewers are doing it purely for the love of the thing but I am saying that the standards a company chooses to hold itself to has a lot to do with the end quality of their products. And the big boys in the industry choose to hold themselves to standards that seem more driven by profit motive than by taste.
Yes it is gradual, but remember that at the same time higher alpha hops were being grown in the Hallertau, which is a savings when you use a 10+AA hop vs a 4 to 5 AA hop. Some of the dumbing down may be the bohnen counters, but some is due to the mass market wanting less taste.

If you speak German you can find this interesting. The "Fernsehbiere" i.e. Beer advertised on TV, are all indistinguishable. The hops and malt have been lost. They do decry hop extract and Sinimar. Interesting that this was done by a TV station after Sierra Nevada got the 2010 WBC Gold, a real watershed moment for Germans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4mhuxXHD2M
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: marty on December 15, 2012, 02:24:52 AM
good for Schells, what an asinine list from the BA
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: udubdawg on December 15, 2012, 03:31:33 AM
good for Schells, what an asinine list from the BA

yeah nice job by Schells.

I expect BA to know the history of adjunct lagers.  Then they list their definitions of craft and "small" and then on the same page say numerous <6M breweries are not small.  C'mon.

"Drink local beer from the little guy" - I could get behind that message.  "Be aware that some of what looks like craft beer is owned by the big guys." - I already knew but hey thanks for the heads-up.
But they didn't stop there, and this whole clumsy attempt by the BA was embarrassing.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: joeysmokedporter on December 15, 2012, 12:50:39 PM
I'm worried that if BMC makes better beer, I won't be able to sneer derisively at their customers for their lack of "proper" taste. I can keep judging people by their taste in music and clothes, though, right?

This made me laugh. Beer snobbery does nothing good to advance the cause of craft brewing, and I don't think it's my business to tell people what to drink or not.

I don't think beer snobbery was the point of the BA's release--I read it as more trying to advance the causes of the breweries BA advocates--but excluding brewers like Yuengling and Schells won't do anything to dispel the perception that there is underlying snobbery particularly related to anything using adjuncts. Which is silly when you consider, as August Schell pointed out, the extensive use of adjuncts in Belgians and double IPAs.

Edit: should have been "snobbery particularly related to light lager styles using adjuncts", not anything using adjuncts. Conveniently Belgians and double IPAs using adjuncts fit the "what is craft beer law".
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: joeysmokedporter on December 15, 2012, 12:57:36 PM
See it's gradual. You make gradual changes you your recipe when you DON'T want your consumers to notice. If you are doing it to pull in new customers you make the keystone "bitter beer face" ad campaign. I stick by my hypothesis that these changes are driven exclusivly by profit margins and not by quality concerns.

I am not saying that small artisinal brewers are doing it purely for the love of the thing but I am saying that the standards a company chooses to hold itself to has a lot to do with the end quality of their products. And the big boys in the industry choose to hold themselves to standards that seem more driven by profit motive than by taste.

I understand the point that customers don't necessarily ask for something, but if the products of the large conglomerates didn't meet a need, then people wouldn't buy them. No one asked for an iPod, but did Apple manipulate people into thinking they wanted one, or did they provide a product that met a need? It seems like you're saying that the big brewers are manipulating drinkers into drinking less flavorful beer (or did I misinterpret?), but I don't think they would have as much of the market as they do without meeting some kind of need.

The price of rice and corn are higher than malt, as pointed out by both August Schell and Stone Brewing's Mitch Steele in a recent interview on Basic Brewing Radio. That shoots a gaping hole through the "profit motive".

Companies (including brewers, regardless of their size) have a right to look for ways to make more money. You and I and everyone else have the right and the ability to choose or not choose their products.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 15, 2012, 03:04:54 PM
See it's gradual. You make gradual changes you your recipe when you DON'T want your consumers to notice. If you are doing it to pull in new customers you make the keystone "bitter beer face" ad campaign. I stick by my hypothesis that these changes are driven exclusivly by profit margins and not by quality concerns.

I am not saying that small artisinal brewers are doing it purely for the love of the thing but I am saying that the standards a company chooses to hold itself to has a lot to do with the end quality of their products. And the big boys in the industry choose to hold themselves to standards that seem more driven by profit motive than by taste.

I understand the point that customers don't necessarily ask for something, but if the products of the large conglomerates didn't meet a need, then people wouldn't buy them. No one asked for an iPod, but did Apple manipulate people into thinking they wanted one, or did they provide a product that met a need? It seems like you're saying that the big brewers are manipulating drinkers into drinking less flavorful beer (or did I misinterpret?), but I don't think they would have as much of the market as they do without meeting some kind of need.

The price of rice and corn are higher than malt, as pointed out by both August Schell and Stone Brewing's Mitch Steele in a recent interview on Basic Brewing Radio. That shoots a gaping hole through the "profit motive".

Companies (including brewers, regardless of their size) have a right to look for ways to make more money. You and I and everyone else have the right and the ability to choose or not choose their products.

I agree.  I fail to see how a gradual change indicates that there's been some nefarious long term plot by the big brewers to trick their customers into drinking something they wouldn't otherwise like.

Rather, I would bet it reflects a gradual change in consumer preferences.

Just because the big brewers are big doesn't mean they don't need to respond to the market.  US car makers learned that back in the 70s.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: gymrat on December 15, 2012, 03:18:12 PM
According to this they did mess with the recipe, they messed with it on purpose, they messed with recipes of some of the smaller beer companies they own, and they don't care what the customers think. They intend to buy more beer companies and mess with those too. All in the name of pleasing the stock holders.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-10-25/the-plot-to-destroy-americas-beer#p1
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 15, 2012, 04:08:00 PM
I remember hearing Charlie Bamforth tell a story from his Bass days. One of the Bass breweries was having problems with an off-flavor (maybe diacetyl), and they sent him up to "fix" it. After Charlie solved the problem, all of their vendors were sending back their Bass orders, because customers got used to, and demanded, the off-flavored beer.

If people really think the beer sucks, they should stop buying it. People vote with their wallets.

As CEO of a company, you have a legal obligation (fiduciary duty) to your stockholders. You're legally obligated to make your company more profitable. Some states allow corporations to voluntarily consider more factors (triple bottom line) in their governance, like how your decisions affect employees, vendors, suppliers, etc, but in most places, you have a legal duty to your stockholders, and no duty to anyone else.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: The Professor on December 15, 2012, 04:20:56 PM
good for Schells, what an asinine list from the BA

I agree.  The response from Schell's is spot on. 
The BA editorial was just laughable.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: gymrat on December 15, 2012, 06:25:57 PM
I remember hearing Charlie Bamforth tell a story from his Bass days. One of the Bass breweries was having problems with an off-flavor (maybe diacetyl), and they sent him up to "fix" it. After Charlie solved the problem, all of their vendors were sending back their Bass orders, because customers got used to, and demanded, the off-flavored beer.

If people really think the beer sucks, they should stop buying it. People vote with their wallets.

As CEO of a company, you have a legal obligation (fiduciary duty) to your stockholders. You're legally obligated to make your company more profitable. Some states allow corporations to voluntarily consider more factors (triple bottom line) in their governance, like how your decisions affect employees, vendors, suppliers, etc, but in most places, you have a legal duty to your stockholders, and no duty to anyone else.

All the more reason for me to stick with American owned smaller breweries. I won't buy anything from InBev or African Brewing Company.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: morticaixavier on December 15, 2012, 07:52:40 PM
See it's gradual. You make gradual changes you your recipe when you DON'T want your consumers to notice. If you are doing it to pull in new customers you make the keystone "bitter beer face" ad campaign. I stick by my hypothesis that these changes are driven exclusivly by profit margins and not by quality concerns.

I am not saying that small artisinal brewers are doing it purely for the love of the thing but I am saying that the standards a company chooses to hold itself to has a lot to do with the end quality of their products. And the big boys in the industry choose to hold themselves to standards that seem more driven by profit motive than by taste.

I understand the point that customers don't necessarily ask for something, but if the products of the large conglomerates didn't meet a need, then people wouldn't buy them. No one asked for an iPod, but did Apple manipulate people into thinking they wanted one, or did they provide a product that met a need? It seems like you're saying that the big brewers are manipulating drinkers into drinking less flavorful beer (or did I misinterpret?), but I don't think they would have as much of the market as they do without meeting some kind of need.

The price of rice and corn are higher than malt, as pointed out by both August Schell and Stone Brewing's Mitch Steele in a recent interview on Basic Brewing Radio. That shoots a gaping hole through the "profit motive".

Companies (including brewers, regardless of their size) have a right to look for ways to make more money. You and I and everyone else have the right and the ability to choose or not choose their products.

I agree.  I fail to see how a gradual change indicates that there's been some nefarious long term plot by the big brewers to trick their customers into drinking something they wouldn't otherwise like.

Rather, I would bet it reflects a gradual change in consumer preferences.

Just because the big brewers are big doesn't mean they don't need to respond to the market.  US car makers learned that back in the 70s.

It's really not all that hard to make someone want something they didn't want before. happens all the time. Advertisers get paid a LOT of money to make people want something they didn't want before. However it's not black and white. Coke tried hard with 'New Coke' and failed. The people responsible for the campaign were sacked.

just because rice and corn are more expensive than malt RIGHT NOW doesn't mean that it was always or will always be true.

How many people taste beer, or coffee, or spicy food for the first time and love it right away? more often than not people continue to try things they don't really like because people they see and respect around them seem to be enjoying it.

Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 15, 2012, 08:09:47 PM
Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.

It sounds arrogant and condescending to say "You like what you like because you're brainwashed, while I like what I like because I have good taste."

I'm sure a lot of Bud drinkers think we're all pretentious suckers for paying $20 for one bottle of an infected, sour beer that's sat around in barrels for a year.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: narvin on December 15, 2012, 08:43:44 PM
Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.

It sounds arrogant and condescending to say "You like what you like because you're brainwashed, while I like what I like because I have good taste."

I'm sure a lot of Bud drinkers think we're all pretentious suckers for paying $20 for one bottle of an infected, sour beer that's sat around in barrels for a year.

I don't think it's crazy to say that part of the popularity of big brands is due to advertising, much of which is completely unrelated to the actual product.  "Chew this gum.  It will give you a sense of identity and a peer group to belong to that, as a insecure young person, you probably lack". 

But, the other part of the equation is that most things which are intended for mass consumption are created through a finely tuned process involving research, focus groups, and making the most middle of the road, formulaic thing possible.  Which works great for making a useful widget to sell, but not so great when making art or craft.  Really, when in history did the world's best craftsmen ever send out a survey asking how people would like their products made?  The thing is, most people don't need craftsmanship for everything.  They're satisfied with a product if it isn't one of their main interests.

Now, judging whether a brewery is a "craft brewery" by number of barrels produced seems misguided, but there is a grain of truth here.  The more beer you brew, the more you have to appeal to people outside the enthusiast group to people who aren't necessarily interested in craftsmanship.  Luckily, the growing interest in beer and education about beer styles and history has increased the base of people looking for interesting and diverse beers, so it's definitely possible for craft breweries to be larger now.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: weithman5 on December 15, 2012, 08:49:01 PM
if i owned a brewery or started one, i would think i would want it to be like schell's family owned, and i like the look of their product line.  i have only had one beer on their list and it was good.  i wish i could get hold of a few more
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: mabrungard on December 15, 2012, 09:07:23 PM
This is snowballing into a disaster.  What was Charlie thinking when they crafted this message?  I assume this was a directive or sentiment from the BA board, but they need to be more 'crafty' with their message.  All I can see is a gunshot hole through a Size 10. 

Brewery size is not a criterion for 'craft' brewing. 
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 15, 2012, 09:23:17 PM
I don't think it's crazy to say that part of the popularity of big brands is due to advertising, much of which is completely unrelated to the actual product.  "Chew this gum.  It will give you a sense of identity and a peer group to belong to that, as a insecure young person, you probably lack". 

Wait, is your gum analogy talking about mass-market beer, or the kind of person who defines their life around their 'small-batch/authentic/artisanal/hand-made/craft' beer? Craft brewers use marketing too (except the monks at Westy).
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: BrewingRover on December 16, 2012, 12:06:11 AM
I have access to some market research databases at work and I really wish I could share the Mintel Report on Craft Beer from last month (doing so would violate the terms and conditions and could get me fired).

They found that price is a huge factor in consumer behavior and is still driving the market. Imports are maintaining share due to their being perceived as better value for money than craft. I think that's where breweries aren't telling their story: the beer costs more because of its premium ingredients. (including the adjuncts  ;D )
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: narvin on December 16, 2012, 12:35:53 AM
I don't think it's crazy to say that part of the popularity of big brands is due to advertising, much of which is completely unrelated to the actual product.  "Chew this gum.  It will give you a sense of identity and a peer group to belong to that, as a insecure young person, you probably lack". 

Wait, is your gum analogy talking about mass-market beer, or the kind of person who defines their life around their 'small-batch/authentic/artisanal/hand-made/craft' beer? Craft brewers use marketing too (except the monks at Westy).

I see most craft brewing advertisements as being about beer, not about making you a better skateboarder, manly man, or fantasy football player.  There is a culture of artisinal/trendy/extreme beer drinkers that is exploited by some craft beer ads, but most of this exists naturally and is driving the ads, not the other way around.  Whether you find these people annoying or pretentious is an unrelated factor.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 16, 2012, 01:27:51 AM
Narvin - Marketing is more than just ads. Marketing involves any messages (intentional or unintentional, explicit or implicit) between you and your customers. Descriptions of beers, and "about us" sections on breweries' websites is what I was mainly thinking of, but even the "buzz" around a brand is just as much a form of marketing as a super bowl ad.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: morticaixavier on December 16, 2012, 01:58:13 AM
Sure they could stop buying bud if they didn't like it but they DO like it. I am just questioning WHY they like it. There is always an argument that 'if people didn't like it they wouldn't do it that way' but if I can make a product and convince lots of people they like it then I can keep making that product.

It sounds arrogant and condescending to say "You like what you like because you're brainwashed, while I like what I like because I have good taste."

I'm sure a lot of Bud drinkers think we're all pretentious suckers for paying $20 for one bottle of an infected, sour beer that's sat around in barrels for a year.

When did I say I like what I like because I have good taste? I'm just as susceptable to suggestion as the next guy.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: djinkc on December 16, 2012, 05:14:10 AM
I brewed with triticale in the mash today.  Is the AHA going to kick me out?

No, I didn't forget to post a smiley
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: narvin on December 16, 2012, 03:05:37 PM
Narvin - Marketing is more than just ads. Marketing involves any messages (intentional or unintentional, explicit or implicit) between you and your customers. Descriptions of beers, and "about us" sections on breweries' websites is what I was mainly thinking of, but even the "buzz" around a brand is just as much a form of marketing as a super bowl ad.

Again, the "buzz" around craft beer is at least beer related.  There's no doubt that craft beer is a culture, identity, scene, or whatever you want to call it, but it didn't grow because of low budget web sites and labels.  A lot of people were involved, and this identity you see today was created by the brewers, bar owners, and patrons.  Saying that unintentional messages is the same as focus groups and tv spots is just silly.

Comparing small brewery marketing and branding with the constant tv spots from Bud shows a big difference.  There are degrees here;  it's not all the same just because it's "marketing".  The closest thing I see to exploitative marketing from craft beer comes from Sam Adams, but they're appealing to the macro drinkers with those ads.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 16, 2012, 03:26:52 PM
I'm not trying to get too far off-topic here. The BA is engaging on marketing on behalf of their members (press release). They're saying "this is what craft brewing is" and they're defining it as small, independent, with no adjuncts to "lighten flavor," whatever that means. There's no mention of "quality" anywhere in the press release. So, it's not really about the beer. It's about defining "craft" as the opposite of whatever BMC does, and if BMC manages to make beer that tastes good, don't be fooled, because it's not really good.

Maybe in the 80s and 90s, when "craft" was new, it was fine to define it as "not BMC." That's not a sustainable position going forward. BMC hires some of the most technically proficient brewers and QC people in the world. They are capable of making good beer, and probably better beer than 90% of the current "craft" brewers. I suspect that's why the BA is focusing on factors other than "quality," because they know they couldn't really compete, if BMC honestly tried to crush small brewers in the flavor department.

I don't watch broadcast TV (I use Hulu and Netflix), so I don't really have any idea how ubiquitous BMC advertising is, or what the content is.
Title: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: bluesman on December 16, 2012, 04:29:33 PM
Just to be clear.

The statement from the BA recognizes the fact that the large producers are indeed trying to break into the Craft beer market and they have done just that. However, the large brewers have not done so in accordance with the "definition" set forth by the BA.

"While this is certainly a nod to the innovation and ingenuity of today's small and independent brewers, it's important to remember that if a large brewer has a controlling share of a smaller producing brewery, the brewer is, by definition, not craft."

In my view the definition created by the BA holds true for the most part, by and large. It depicts the proper attributes and paints a clear picture of most of the Craft breweries in my region. I believe it to be a sound definition.

I also think there's a blurred line that needs to be brought back into focus so that beer advocates and enthusiasts can make informed choices.

I fully support indie craft beer. They need our support and will benefit from our support if there's a clear line.
This publication is simply calling for transparency in the market, hence the proposition, Craft or Crafty?
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: MDixon on December 16, 2012, 10:12:30 PM
The definitions released are arbitrary and a IMHO a more than a bit laughable. The AS link I posted earlier in the thread hit the nail on the head. Tell my buddy who brews at Redhook he doesn't brew craft beer...because they are partially owned by a major conglomerate? How about the flip side, the craft brewery owns an alcopop? (Oh, no he didn't. Oh yes I did!) ;)

Personally I believe the vast majority of beer drinkers can see right through the BMC brands masquerading as craft. Now when I sit at the bar, the folks who start out drinking say Blue Moon or Shock Top, quickly move on to something else that is craft. We should be thanking BMC for promoting craft using "me too" beers as opposed to ostracizing some of the oldest breweries in the US.

Bottom line is good beer is good beer, it really doesn't matter what you label it, nor who brews it. I dare someone at the BA to call up Nick Floyd and tell him that because Alpha King was once brewed and bottled by AS it wasn't craft beer during that time. How about the folks at Goose Island? Today your beer is craft, now that you have sold the business the beer is fizzy yellow stuff. I'll take a four pack of that fizzy yellow Bourbon County Stout any day! ;)

http://mashbang.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/is-it-craft/




Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: a10t2 on December 16, 2012, 10:27:43 PM
We should be thanking BMC for promoting craft using "me too" beers as opposed to ostracizing some of the oldest breweries in the US.

Or making better craft beers than the current craft brewers, selling them in more places for less money, and putting us all out of business.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 16, 2012, 10:50:11 PM
For everyone who doesn't live in one of the many beer meccas around the country: there are huge swaths of America where you can't get good beer on tap, period. You are lucky if you can even find Blue Moon. There is no competition with craft beer, because there is no craft beer.

So, yeah, I'm kind of thrilled there's Goose Island IPA on tap at the ballpark now, because now I don't have to drink Bud light, or heaven forbid, water, when I go to a baseball game.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: joeysmokedporter on December 17, 2012, 12:13:02 PM
The obsession with the megabrewers buying up craft brewers and watering down their offerings, and ultimately killing our choice, borders on paranoia to me. Look at what's been happening. The craft beer segment of the market has been growing double digits for years. We have more access to good beer than ever, maybe even better than before prohibition (although excluding some areas like Nateo's from the sound of it). The megabrewers barely grew this year...after having no growth or shrinking in previous years.

They are buying craft brewers because it gives them access to a growing segment, unlike their current offerings.

If they try to trick us into buying their craft brands and then water it down, aren't we discerning enough in our tastes to figure it out and buy something else?

I understand that the BA's objective is to advocate for smaller brewers. They absolutely should. I understand their call for transparency is in line with that. However it was clumsy at best, and bordering on snobbery at worst, especially given the arbitrary nature of the guidelines that were articulated well enough in the Schell rebuttal. There are different ways to advocate for small brewers, including the ancient and messy legal landscape, and while I am sure BA is exploring every avenue, perhaps more effort here and less into judging who is and isn't craft is in order.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: Slowbrew on December 17, 2012, 12:35:45 PM
This is my 3rd or 4th attempt to post in this thread.  Without creating a 3 page response this time, I hope.

Business is business.  Each niche in the market is trying to do the same thing, make a product people will buy and return a profit to their investors.  Nano and micro brewers focus on unique and flavorful products that appeal to people looking for more than alcohol and fizzy water.  The macros play to the lowest common denominator and look to make money off volume. 

"Quality" can be defined any way you choose.  Small craft brewers tend to see "quality" as well made made beer with more body and flavor than BMC.  The big boys worry about "quality" as making the same beer, 10's of thousands of times a year, all over the world and having every glass taste exactly the same.

This whole discussion is hung up of the definition of a custom designed word.  The craft brewer market knows the difference between micro and macro.  I think AB-InBev making "craft beer" will open the market up for small brewers more than shrink it.  The big boys are eating their own young by giving people more choices and giving them a reason to be more adventerous.  It could be a good thing.

Paul
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: BrewingRover on December 17, 2012, 12:59:32 PM
I understand that the BA's objective is to advocate for smaller brewers. They absolutely should. I understand their call for transparency is in line with that. However it was clumsy at best, and bordering on snobbery at worst, especially given the arbitrary nature of the guidelines that were articulated well enough in the Schell rebuttal. There are different ways to advocate for small brewers, including the ancient and messy legal landscape, and while I am sure BA is exploring every avenue, perhaps more effort here and less into judging who is and isn't craft is in order.
Thanks, I've been trying to articulate something like this. The editorial came off like the guy at the record store telling me my band sucks because they're on a major label.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: MDixon on December 17, 2012, 01:03:39 PM
The editorial came off like the guy at the record store telling me my band sucks because they're on a major label.

^^^
THIS!
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: tomsawyer on December 17, 2012, 01:08:36 PM
Its my understanding that ownership by a BMC does come with a price.  I'm not saying that it will immediately reduce quality, but if a brewery stumbles financially they can expect to receive guidance on how to reduce costs and increse the bottom line.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: udubdawg on December 17, 2012, 02:50:55 PM
So most of the breweries they are insulting are BA members, right?  Can someone explain that?
"A Passionate Voice for Craft Brewerers...and, uh, these other guys too"
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: weithman5 on December 17, 2012, 02:58:31 PM
why do we even have to define a craft brewery. it is really the beer that seems to be in question.  american lager versus everything else.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: nateo on December 17, 2012, 05:17:29 PM
The whole thing sounds like something PETA would say. Aggressive activism doesn't really change many minds. How many people became vegetarians because PETA yelled at them? How many people will read the BA's editorial and stop buying Blue Moon?

The BA is assuming that everyone agrees that "corporate beer" = bad, but they don't really explain why, or give a compelling reason to choose "craft" over macro-brew. I think if you're a casual follower of beer (like the people who read this in the newspaper) you wouldn't really understand why faux-craft is a problem, or even if it is a problem, other than the BA just doesn't like it.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: hubie on December 17, 2012, 05:29:47 PM
Its my understanding that ownership by a BMC does come with a price.  I'm not saying that it will immediately reduce quality, but if a brewery stumbles financially they can expect to receive guidance on how to reduce costs and increse the bottom line.

This happened to Pierre Celis:  http://www.beer-pages.com/stories/celis.htm (http://www.beer-pages.com/stories/celis.htm).  And I don't think you have to stumble financially, you just need to not produce as much of a profit as analysts think you can.  I remember back in the early 00's there used to be Warner Brothers stores in the malls that would sell any and all things Looney Tunes.  When AOL merged with Time Warner, they closed all those stores to show investors that after the merger they were committed to cutting down the bottom line, even though those stores were profitable.  It sounds like the same thing was done after InBev bought Hoegaarden.  Correct me if I am wrong, but it wasn't as if Hoegaarden was losing money, but that they weren't making enough money and it looked good to Wall Street to close them.

Based on the article gymrat posted, http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14144.msg180088#msg180088 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14144.msg180088#msg180088), it is a pretty good bet that it will keep happening.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: bunderbunder on December 17, 2012, 05:35:55 PM
They're saying "this is what craft brewing is" and they're defining it as small, independent, with no adjuncts to "lighten flavor," whatever that means.

I fear it means they've gotten so hung up on trying to define themselves in terms of what they aren't that they're in danger of losing sight of what they are.  There's a whole lot of great traditional beer that uses adjuncts to lighten the flavor.  I mean, at the very least it's kind of hard to ignore that great big elephant in the room named Belgium. 

Now maybe if they wanted to criticize the use of adjuncts purely as a cost-cutting measure in the interest of making cheap mass-market beer. But implying that it's anathema for one's explorations in adjusting the flavor of beer to stray outside the narrow lines of malted grain?  Might as well try passing the Reinhetisgebot off as a "beer quality law" while you're at it.

(Edit:  And a little more rant about their apparently strong conviction that using adjuncts in beer makes it somehow not "traditional."  I'm a budding beer history nerd, starting to get into recreating historical recipes.  Yesterday's brew was a first step in that direction - a mid 18th century Porter.  Heck yeah there was adjunct in there.  If it didn't have any adjunct, it wouldn't be what my great-great-great grandparents were drinking.)
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: alcaponejunior on December 17, 2012, 05:49:21 PM
Its my understanding that ownership by a BMC does come with a price.  I'm not saying that it will immediately reduce quality, but if a brewery stumbles financially they can expect to receive guidance on how to reduce costs and increse the bottom line.

This happened to Pierre Celis:  http://www.beer-pages.com/stories/celis.htm (http://www.beer-pages.com/stories/celis.htm).  And I don't think you have to stumble financially, you just need to not produce as much of a profit as analysts think you can.  I remember back in the early 00's there used to be Warner Brothers stores in the malls that would sell any and all things Looney Tunes.  When AOL merged with Time Warner, they closed all those stores to show investors that after the merger they were committed to cutting down the bottom line, even though those stores were profitable.  It sounds like the same thing was done after InBev bought Hoegaarden.  Correct me if I am wrong, but it wasn't as if Hoegaarden was losing money, but that they weren't making enough money and it looked good to Wall Street to close them.

Based on the article gymrat posted, http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14144.msg180088#msg180088 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14144.msg180088#msg180088), it is a pretty good bet that it will keep happening.

This idea by wall street f***tards that everything has to MAXIMIZE profits in every possible way, regardless of the consequences, or be destroyed bugs me.  A business that's making a profit, employing people, providing a service/product people want, paying taxes, and generally contributing to the economy is providing a valuable and tangible service to the community.  When some investor thinks they should eek out another 1% higher profit margin or be dismantled/conglomerized, they are doing nobody other than themselves any favors.  It's incredibly selfish to overlook the big picture in favor for a solely stockholder dividends/CEO bonuses view of life.  And inevitably, this viewpoint stymies quality in favor of mass produced dog-doo.  Yes, the Beck's example.  I used to like Beck's.  It was one of my go-to beers back in the dark days before the craft beer "revolution."  Beck's did noticeably change for the worse when it was taken over and moved to STL*.

*and I hate to say that about STL, because there's some excellent craft beer / beer culture in STL
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: alcaponejunior on December 17, 2012, 05:54:44 PM
They're saying "this is what craft brewing is" and they're defining it as small, independent, with no adjuncts to "lighten flavor," whatever that means.

I fear it means they've gotten so hung up on trying to define themselves in terms of what they aren't that they're in danger of losing sight of what they are.  There's a whole lot of great traditional beer that uses adjuncts to lighten the flavor.  I mean, at the very least it's kind of hard to ignore that great big elephant in the room named Belgium. 

Now maybe if they wanted to criticize the use of adjuncts purely as a cost-cutting measure in the interest of making cheap mass-market beer. But implying that it's anathema for one's explorations in adjusting the flavor of beer to stray outside the narrow lines of malted grain?  Might as well try passing the Reinhetisgebot off as a "beer quality law" while you're at it.

(Edit:  And a little more rant about their apparently strong conviction that using adjuncts in beer makes it somehow not "traditional."  I'm a budding beer history nerd, starting to get into recreating historical recipes.  Yesterday's brew was a first step in that direction - a mid 18th century Porter.  Heck yeah there was adjunct in there.  If it didn't have any adjunct, it wouldn't be what my great-great-great grandparents were drinking.)

I used six ounces of flaked corn in my last brew, a blonde ale.  Thus, I would like to present myself for flogging and chastizing/casting-out at this time.  Apparently I'm not a craft brewer anymore, or even worthy of continuing on in the human race.  At best I should be confined to a desert island and be forced to drink only BMC adjunct lagers from here on out.  ::)
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: The Professor on December 17, 2012, 06:14:08 PM
why do we even have to define a craft brewery. it is really the beer that seems to be in question.  american lager versus everything else.

Why indeed!  I'm still convinced that the "craft" definition itself  will ultimately fall by the wayside as good beer wins over new fans.   Beer should be judged on its own merits anyway, rather than an  increasingly tired marketing term or even the size of the manufacturer.  Even American lager is not all bad or evil...nor is the use of adjuncts;  after all, quite a few "craft" and pub brewers (the smart ones, anyway) are making their own versions of American lager (and using  adjuncts in those, as well as their other beers). 
 
There has been (for a while now, from what I've observed) a perception by the public that the "craft" segment of the industry projects a kind of arrogance.   If anything, the recently released  statement reinforces that perception.  Problem is, the arrogance all too often isn't justified (judging by some of the products hitting the shelves of late).  I totally  agree with the others who have opined that good beer is good beer...and good beer has always been and will continue to be different things to different people.  I love "craft" beer...if it is good.

I think that the BA statement was wrongheaded on multiple levels.  I understand that part of their function as a trade organization is to generate positive hype (and hype is what it is)...but unfortunately they have inadvertently shot themselves in the foot with the current brewhaha.

By the way, the band/major label analogy put forth earlier in the thread by joeysmokedporter is  gem!  Spot on!
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: bunderbunder on December 17, 2012, 06:33:57 PM
For that matter, I still find it interesting that the cap on how much beer you could make and still qualify as a "craft brewery" suddenly got tripled when it seemed that a certain large publicly-traded company with a market cap of $1.8bn and a ubiquitous national brand was about to blow past that limit.

I realize the BA needs to have an identity.  But it still strikes me as being stuck in the amusing position of being a punk band that became popular.  I'll be interested to see how (or if) they manage to reconcile their mission of expanding sales and mass market appeal with their desire to maintain an image of representing the beer counterculture.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: tomsawyer on December 17, 2012, 06:52:34 PM
For that matter, I still find it interesting that the cap on how much beer you could make and still qualify as a "craft brewery" suddenly got tripled when it seemed that a certain large publicly-traded company with a market cap of $1.8bn and a ubiquitous national brand was about to blow past that limit.
Thats just inflation, indexed to healthcare costs.
I realize the BA needs to have an identity.  But it still strikes me as being stuck in the amusing position of being a punk band that became popular.  I'll be interested to see how (or if) they manage to reconcile their mission of expanding sales and mass market appeal with their desire to maintain an image of representing the beer counterculture.
BA Rocks the Casbah!
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: tomsawyer on December 17, 2012, 07:14:32 PM
The situation reminds me of the state of archery.  Once there was only archery, then along came the compound bow that was perceived as superior at which point the old style bows were somewhat ignored by the masses.  Then after awhile they made a comeback as "traditional archery" and now you have the wheelie boys and the trad gang that each feel superior to the other.  Unfortunately they haven't sorted it out any better than the breweries so theres no lesson here other than people like to categorize stuff for purposes of feeling superior.
Title: Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
Post by: gogreen437 on December 17, 2012, 08:17:26 PM
 This all seems rather silly.  Not the "Craft versus Crafty" but the reaction to it.  I read the whole article and they never once accused major brewers of breaking into our homes, messing the place up and generally being evil, no good human beings.  They simply pointed out that there are consumers out there who like to buy products from small independent producers (I am one of them) and the way certain products are marketed (Shock Top and Blue Moon) are deceptive and do not make it clear to the consumer who is producing them.  It is a call for transparency so the consumer can make an informed decision.  I don't believe they ever once said Blue Moon or Shock Top were awful beers (though Shock Top is not very good).

As for August Schell's response, it was in poor taste to include them on the domestic non craft list.  But, they do acknowledge on the list that they are small and independent.  It is an attempt at transparency for those who wish to know.  I get that good beer can be made that isn't small or independent.  I don't care.  I prefer to spend my dollars on beer that is, because beer is more to me than a product.  It has a story and it is about the people who make it.  As such, I would like to know who is making my beer.