Tuesday 8 February 2011

Craft Beer, why it’s the right name

This morning I wrote a blog about why I like the name ‘craft beer’ and why I think it works in the UK. Then I got thinking… this is probably a topic which lots of others have an opinion on, so I thought I’d tell people in advance and see if others want to blog on the same topic and then post on Friday 11 February (short notice but most people probably know how they feel about it already!).

It’s a hot topic in the UK, some liking it and others hating it. Whether you agree or disagree, I don’t mind, but if you do disagree then come up with a better argument than ‘it doesn’t mean anything in the UK’ (yawn). And if you do like it then say why and why you think it works. It’ll be interesting to see the range of different opinions on this one…

Post any time on Friday if you want to take part.


I’ve got an idea on a beer blogging project called Brood. It’s like the Session but more of a sideways glance, encouraging bloggers to look a little differently at topics in beer (some important, some irreverent), or addressing ideas differently… This would be an ideal topic for Brood, as would ‘Why Budweiser is the best beer in the world’ or ‘Why I hate/love football in pubs’. Would people be interested in a semi-regular blog project like that? Taking ideas and encouraging people to write on that same topic and see what the different opinions are, with different people choosing the topics.


  1. Was good to get your thoughts on this in the comments on my blog post regarding Punk IPA in cans and whether its the first true 'craft in a can' in the UK. The debate is still continuing there about whether craft is the right term which is good.

    Will definately post on this subject on friday the 11th. Let me know the details.

  2. I like the idea of getting people to blog on topics like you suggested. I really need to get into blogging properly, it's fallen by the wayside again :/ Things like The Session and Brood might be a good way to get going again. I think they're a great idea.

  3. I love the idea of the beer blogosphere all posting about the same thing. It's like the Borg have taken over, resistance is futile.

  4. I've found myself using the term 'craft beer' organically in recent times. I've caught myself saying it and it's beginning to feel less awkward. The term 'real ale' is less relevant now with the keg revolution and has the negative dull brown ditchwater stereotype attached to it. Craft beer is and has always been cool.

  5. Yes time to put a definition to "craft beer". I'm pretty sure a lot of the beer bloggers will have a similar definition but it will be interesting to read the differences.

    I'm also with Ben having an interesting topic to write about may make me get off my fat arse and do something!

  6. here you go fellas


    "A distinctively flavored beer that is brewed and distributed regionally. Also called craft brew, microbrew."

    as opposed to


    "any beer which is allowed to ferment in the cask and which when served is pumped up without using carbon dioxide"

  7. Well said Cookie! (or Mr Free Dictionary)

  8. "Microbrewery" is a potentially meaningful term as it can be used to relate to the scale of the operation regardless of the quality of the beer. But IMV "craft beer" is basically anything people choose to define it as and thus useless terminology in the UK context. Is Donnington, for example, a "craft brewery"?

  9. if you do disagree then come up with a better argument than ‘it doesn’t mean anything in the UK’ (yawn)

    I'll obviously have to up the dosage of invective if all I'm producing is tedium.

    I just hate people throwing words around as if they don't mean anything. Is Stuart Howe (still) a craft brewer? No, but then again yes, because we like Stuart. Is Hall & Woodhouse a craft brewer? Yes, but then again maybe not, because we don't much like the beer.

    At around this time someone usually comes up with the line that's my absolute number 1 pet hate: "I don't need to define it, I know what I mean by it". Yes, I know you know what you mean by it - because what you mean by it is "beer that I like".

    ...is what I would say if I were having an argument with somebody instead of just sitting here banging on a keyboard.

  10. Good work Mark, this one should be fun.

  11. I'm in!
    'craft' n.
    1. Skill in doing or making something, as in the arts; proficiency.
    2. Skill in evasion or deception; guile.
    So it can be applied to the best and worst of breweries.

  12. Glad people are interested in the topic. I'll save responding to individual comments until the posts go up on Friday.

  13. To me this a non-topic. I think I'm speaking on behalf of many here, nobody wants craft, independent, macro, regional, gourmet, commercial, extreme, session or whatever you want to call it beer. We all want "good beer".

    You may choose to support a "craft brewer" (whatever that might be) because of moral/philosphical reasons or simply because you don't want your money to end up lining the pockets of CEO's or shareholders, and that's fine and dandy, and it's something many of us do. On the other hand, if I had to choose between a dodgy pale lager brewed at the microbrewery of my town and Pilsner Urquell, I would choose the SAB-Miller brew without a second thought.

  14. "you don't want your money to end up lining the pockets of CEO's or shareholders"

    Max, you know fine and dandy (a lovely phrase that should be used more often), that supporting a local brewery means lining the pockets of its CEO and shareholders. Sure the CEO and shareholders may also be the ones doing the work, but let's not romanticise craft brewers as somehow not being in the business of making money.

    Making beer in order to make money is why breweries exist, regardless of size.

    But I agree entirely, it is a non-topic. I don't care who makes the beer, as long as it is good. And yes PU is far better than many give it credit for.

  15. Yes, good beer is the priority, no doubt, but the name is being used so I think it's interesting to see what people think its usage means or whether they like it. It's not about whether we only drink 'craft beer' or not, because some of it isn't good, whereas some 'bigger' beer is very good... It's about understanding a term which has come into our beer language. We naturally want to label things to understand them and it's not very easy to label something 'good' or 'bad' for mass-consumption.

  16. IMO, we should let that to the marketing people, because that's what it all is, a label...