Author Topic: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth  (Read 9497 times)

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2495
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2012, 07:06:41 PM »
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.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2196
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2012, 07:28:07 PM »
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
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline BrewingRover

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 533
  • Brewing in Flossmoor, IL
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2012, 09:02:14 PM »
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.
It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.

Offline bboy9000

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 216
  • KCMO
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2012, 09:39:13 PM »
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.
Brian
mobrewer

Offline theoman

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 508
  • Outskirts of Brussels, Belgium
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2012, 01:32:41 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.

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2495
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2012, 07:39:47 AM »
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.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6078
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2012, 08:54:19 AM »
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.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2196
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2012, 10:19:26 AM »
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.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4776
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2012, 10:24:39 AM »
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?
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2012, 10:53:05 AM »
It all traces back to the Keystone commercial about bitter beer face.  Nobody wants to look like that dude.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2196
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #40 on: December 14, 2012, 11:02:57 AM »
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?
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8755
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #41 on: December 14, 2012, 11:11:21 AM »
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!  :)
Ron Price

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1680
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #42 on: December 14, 2012, 11:21:26 AM »
i am going to stop using the term craft and macro.  just going to use enjoyable versus not enjoyable. 
Don AHA member

Offline morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6078
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #43 on: December 14, 2012, 11:26:07 AM »
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?
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline redbeerman

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1739
  • On the banks of the mighty Susquehanna
    • View Profile
Re: Craft versus crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth
« Reply #44 on: December 14, 2012, 12:20:30 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)
CH3CH2OH - Without it, life itself would be impossible.

[441, 112.1deg] AR

Jim