Thursday, 4 April 2013

Cask and Craft: Time to stop the fight



I’m so utterly, infuriatingly frustrated with the whole cask and craft discussion in the UK right now that it makes me wish I wrote about wine because it’s frankly embarrassing. Why is there this in-fighting in what should be a close industry? Somehow the discussion has evolved into this thing which is a monster of misunderstanding, which like a game of Chinese whispers is turning into a bastard of untruths and assumptions. 

The thing which annoys me the most is creating a distinction between a cask beer (I'm using 'cask' instead of real ale throughout because it's the actual container which seems to be causing the issues here) and a craft beer. Some people seem to think that if it’s in a keg then it’s craft and if it’s on cask then it isn’t. That’s just bullshit (where did that even come from?!) There are some breweries who are frequently mentioned – Thornbridge, Magic Rock, etc – because they make both cask and keg beer. Does that mean cask Jaipur is not craft yet the kegged version is? Where does the bottle then fit? A definition of ‘craft’ based dispense is very, very wrong and totally unnecessary.

There are nanobreweries, microbreweries, regional breweries, national breweries... But that’s largely irrelevant, too, because size doesn’t define craft, especially not at the scale of these UK breweries. Likewise a definition based on style is just stupid. Everything I’ve seen on this recently has mentioned highly hopped beers as if that’s the only type of ‘craft’ brew you’ll find. That’s wrong, too. Craft is just a word that’s been sucked into British beer from America and then been applied poorly because no one seems to know what to do with it, which is a genuine problem, but just because the most visible American craft beers tend to be IPAs and they tend to be kegged doesn’t mean that it’s the only craft beer or that we can use that to define craft in Britain.

Craft beer is just a name. An idea that beer is made by hand from natural ingredients and that there’s more to beer than mass-produced multinational lagers. There are over 1,000 breweries in the UK right now and over 95% of them would probably count as craft, I reckon. And over 95% of those probably only make cask beer. All of them just make beer. Let’s not get hung up on a name.
 
Thanks to @FergusMcIver for sharing it
This piece in the Wandsworth Beer Festival programme typifies the contemptuous crap that is being spouted about beer at the moment and it’s completely wrong and missing the point. I want to rip it apart but it’s just some unbelievably misleading that I don’t know where to even begin with it. It’s like a scared kind of misinformed prejudice, based on dated ideas, which jumps to astonishing conclusions based on assiduous assumptions. And then other people believe that shit.

The simple truth – and the important thing to think about – is that kegged beer made by small breweries isn’t in competition with cask ales; it’s a bonus to sit beside cask on the bar. Pubs aren’t removing cask lines to put in keg lines, they are kicking out the mass-made lagers and to give more kegged choices. And kegged beers aren’t there to dumb down the beer market, they are trying to ignite it with new experiences, new brews (while we’re here: no small brewery pasteurises their beer, few filter it, most use the best ingredients they can find and give the beer a lot longer in tank than their hurried cask counterparts).

Why can’t people see this? Why is there a negative attitude towards it? And why the hell does it matter? It’s about choice and when we get to the bar we can make our own choices; some people will only look at the casks, some will only look at the kegs, others will scan the whole range. Excellent British kegged beer (not flipping ‘Craft Keg’, what a horrific term) is adding extra depth to what we can buy in the bar. That’s a great thing.

I’m writing this as someone who has just written a book with craft beer in the title. I didn’t choose the beers for any other reason than they are interesting and delicious. Craft beer is just a name; I don’t think it’s an actual definable thing and certainly not in any meaningful way. It’s like a farmer’s market. How do you define that when every one you go to is different? You don’t define it but you know what you get when you visit one; some are better than others, some are more commercial, some are more rustic. I simply don’t think we need to define craft but I do think we need to kill the misunderstanding between craft and cask because we need to appreciate that they belong side by side and that one isn’t trying to replace or undermine the other.  

And I genuinely think that spreading false ideas about ‘craft’ is leaving a disjointed and fraying British beer industry which seems to be fighting over a silly detail instead of getting together to support the best tasting British beer.

It’s time to take a modern look at beer, an all-encompassing, open-eyed and open-minded look at beer. Craft beer isn’t just IPA. It’s not just bloody fizzy beer. And cask beer isn’t all boring and brown and flat and warm. Why is there ongoing tension between the two? And how the hell can we get rid of it?


51 comments:

  1. Well said. What a prat that Mark Justin is.

    I'm glad to be removed from those types of prejudices and pointless circular argument. Here in Sydney the craft scene is exploding and they've just discovered 'handpumped' beer, currently only available as a bonus extra line or two in a few of the city's top craft beer bars. A new pub (run by an ex-pat) is opening later in the year that will supposedly be exclusively handpump. I hope it brings only increased choice and not counterproductive infighting.

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    1. That's interesting being an Aussie living here in the UK, glad to here cask is appearing as you say offers more variety. Here the debate is a bit stupid with both sides getting their backs up over definitions. I understand CAMRA's concerns though as the industry has come along in leaps and bounds since the 70s when cask was almost an exist form of beer, we really have this dedicated group to thank for this and anyone who doesn't acknowledge that is a bit foolish. There is a fear that moving away from the definitions will lead to a gradual decline into this historic problem. On the flip side there are some new breweries cashing in on this conflict and using it largely for marketing so set them selves up as rebels and under dogs, arguing almost the reverse point to CAMRA that 'real ale' is warm and bland which is in itself a misconception and misrepresentation of a big diverse industry, it's all about branding.

      I would hate to loose any form of beer (even the ones I don't like) because at the end of the day the thing I enjoy is walking into a pub with a vibrant feel and finding a bunch of beers on tap that I've never tried before, tasting them and finding one I can enjoy.

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  2. Also worth noting that so far "craft keg" has made pretty much zero impact outside specialist beer pubs. It simply hasn't gone mainstream. If it was turfing handpumps off the bars of local pubs its critics might have more of a point.

    I also continue to believe that the potential opportunities for new brewers are much greater in the keg lager sector, which would up to a point be welcomed even by the real ale diehards.

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    1. The keg lager sector is important, I agree. And I think there are some excellent keg lagers being made but there are also some terrible ones. If a brewery is going to do it then they really need to know what they're doing and commit to doing it right.

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  3. Very nicely said.

    To a Yank good-beer drinker, the idea that cask beer can't be "craft" (whatever that really means on any given day) is utterly hilarious. Over there, where "craft" beer was invented, there is *no* cask-conditioned beer that is *not* from breweries the likes of Rogue, Stone, Dogfish Head, et. al. Cask beer is the ultimate way to present "craft" beer(*): the complete opposite of Budweiser or Carling.

    "Craft" is nothing but an unnecessary marketing term, coined 20 years ago to enable the licence-brewers like Sam Adams and Pete's Wicked Ale to get in on the then-young microbrewery / brewpub boom. I've been rolling my eyes at it ever since. Good beer is what it is, just call it that.

    If Thornbridge brew a Carling clone, is it "craft"?

    * Or was, at least, before this silliness with whisky-barrel-aging and all that followed came up.

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  4. Sadly it appears we have intransigents on both sides, the died in the wool CAMRA traditionalists and the Fanboy Tickerati (sorry best term I can come up with) who continually bemoan CAMRA for doing what it was set up to do.
    There are some, as evidenced by Mark Justin, who interpret to the campaign for something as being a campaign against something else. And, on the other 'side', there are those who bang on about boring brown beer, would the person who first uttered those words please step forward and apologise for denigrating 95% of beer produced in the UK.
    But, the question you rightly pose is how do we get rid of the present state of things? The term Craft is entirely meaningless if we can't agree what it means, I regard brewing as a craft, a blend of art and science, that some have a gift for and others work hard at. Craft is an American concept to distinguish ABInBev/Millers/Coors etc from well... everyone else. Their's is a definition based on size, and thanks to Boston Beer & Sierra Nevada it has to be redefined each year.
    Keg has been regarded as the evil that destroyed much of the UK brewing Industry until the birth of CAMRA revitalised brewing through its campaigns. Unfortunately that term Keg will always leave a nasty taste in the mouth for many old stalwarts. It is the word Keg that is the problem, it just conjures up too many nasty images.
    Things will change, but they will take time. The Keg Crusaders may not change CAMRA, at least not by poking sticks, but they will change opinions if brewers continue to brew good beer that is not cask ale.
    One final thought, why is so called craft beer more expensive? On a recent visit to The Hanging Bat I got little change from £8.00 for UK two beers, 1.33 pints for £8.00!! Neither were over 6%.

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    1. It is a good question - why is keg (craft, call it what you like) beer so expensive. I've was recently in a certain London pub, and they had the same beer on both cask and keg. The cask was about £3.50/pint whilst the keg version was almost £2 more. Same brewery, same ABV and as far as I could tell same beer, just served differently.

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    2. Because keeping stuff refrigerated costs money, if it is force carbonated CO2 costs money, if it is in a keykeg that immediately adds £15 to the price of a keg that is passed on to the drinker finally equipment to get beer from the cellar to the bar costs an awful lot more money.

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    3. Nicely put, ABrewHaHa, though I don't really like Fanboy Ticker! I think that's an extreme subset of something and if any is probably more cask-focused than keg.

      The important point is good beer. Diehards may never change, which is fine, but an open mind is important to at least say that quality matters over container.

      As for price, Pete covers it. Another additional cost might be tank time - kegs may need longer in tank at the brewery. Keykeg prices make a big difference, though.

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    4. "continually bemoan CAMRA for doing what it was set up to do."

      But the point is, CAMRA is doing the exact opposite of what it was set up to do. The stated aims of the Campaign for Revitalisation of Ale was set up to promote quality and choice in the UK Beer Industry, support the traditional UK pub industry, and represent the UK beer drinker. By refusing to support innovative UK breweries that provide increased choice, promoting a national corporate chain at the expense of traditional community pubs, and campaigning instead for a minimum alcohol price, its now actively campaigning against every single one of its founding principles.

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  5. Thanks for this excellent piece Mark. I'm frustrated too that both the misinformed cask purists and the more enlightened drinkers now seem to be using the term 'craft' as if it excludes cask -- witness the recent exchange of letters in What's Brewing. Unlike you, though, I do feel a sensible attempt at a definition of craft would be helpful. In the US the Brewers Association does at least have a clear definition of the term, cynical though some commenters might be of their motives. It's not just based on size, as BrewHaHa says, but on quality (in the US context this means brewing without corn/rice adjuncts) and independence. All three need to be taken into account -- but absolutely NOT packaging and dispense! The last thing we need is another four decades of a beer movement that fetishises technical details of dispense without even fully understanding them.

    Don't get too angry about that Wandsworth Beer Festival stuff -- it's just self evident bollocks from an opinionated and misinformed individual who apparently has a misguided sense of their own importance, and I'm not sure it's that influential as their are other, more sensible, voices out there too. Such people aren't unique to the beer world. I see it has a pop against various CAMRA campaigns above the rant about craft beer so I don't think it's representative of anyone other than its author.

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  6. Incidentally I notice at the end of the piece it trumpets new local Wandsworth brewers -- including Sambrook's, which has recently made a big deal of launching a "craft keg" pale ale, and Rocky Head, which to my knowledge focusews only a US-influenced bottle conditioned pale ale and doesn't do regular cask at all...

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    1. I noticed that part as well, Des, though chose to overlook it to save words and space...

      Regardless of whether we need/get a definition, I totally agree that packaging and dispense play absolutely no role in the definition of it.

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  7. I find the argument amusing, so personally I'd like it to continue.

    I'm hoping that at a future debate, like indyman, it kicks off proper.

    I'm running a book and currently have Brewdog James at 3-1 with Clarkey & Tandy odds on.

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  8. Those cynical craft brewers though, attempting to hide their bland beers by including hops. Sneaky buggers...

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    1. I know, what a damn mischievous thing to try and do!

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  9. Great post Mark. I particularly like the analogy with farmers markets.

    I don't care about dispense or definitions. I just care about good local and / or interesting beers getting a wider audience.

    Somebody, somewhere needs to sort out beer marketing, in the way that Australian wine did in the 80s for example. Too many people pulling in different directions and taking part in a pissing contest. They need to realise that the enemy is not other brewers / types of beer, but tax, regulation and other drinks categories.

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  10. Great piece Mark, though I doubt it'll make the slightest bit of difference to retards like the author of the piece above, or the morons who are putting forward a motion at the CAMRA AGM to ban the use of the word 'craft' from CAMRA publications. Thankfully there are also sensible people on both sides pointing out that things change and at the end of the day it should all be about taste. But I don't even like using the word 'sides', because most pubs and punters - and as you point out, brewers - who appreciate good beer realise that craft and cask go hand in hand - there aren't many craft beer pubs that don't hugely promote cask AS PART OF CRAFT, apart from Brew Dog, who are just making a point.

    I suppose the problem is - aside from paranoid, scared hobbyosts who see ghosts in the shadows and enemies where there are none - is that because cask ale has a technical, specific definition, people feel craft beer needs one too. I don't think it does. The US definition was created by a trade body rather than a consume organisation. It's self-serving and changes to suit the needs of its membership. That's fine so long as people recognise it for what it is. (The other night I opened a bottle of Goose Island Bourbon County Cherry Rye stout, aged in rye whiskey barrels with whole cherries added. It;s the nicest beer I've had in at least a year. And any world in which that beer is not "craft", is a bizarre p[;lace indeed.)

    I'd suggest that it's more useful to think of 'craft' as an adjective rather than a noun. It's a way of describing something, not the name of a style, and certainly not something with a technical definition. I've been talking about 'craft beer' since before the current craft beer scene existed, and I had my own meaning of it, my own way of using it, which probably overlaps with everybody else's understanding of what craft beer is by about 85-95%. It may not have a precise meaning, but it is commonly understood. I can't define what a giraffe is, but I can tell you how it's different from a donkey.

    So this leaves the term open to abuse, and allows bastards like Stella Artois and Fosters to use the term? Yes, that is annoying. But they'll do that anyway, whatever a bunch of beer geeks decide the 'official' meaning of the term is, because unlike cask ale, it has a broader meaning beyond beer and no one has a monopoly on its use.

    Like you, I find all the row over this embarrassing, and at a time when beer has the best chance in modern history to become seen broadly as an interesting, culturally relevant, varied beverage, it does us no favours at all.

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    1. Balls. Sorry about all the typos.

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    2. Adjective over noun definitely works - these problems seem to come from the NEED to give it a definition, which doesn't work in the UK. I also think (and hope) that in a few years time we'll look back and laugh at how we used to call it 'craft beer' and fight about what it means - soon it'll just be beer. Until then the term works as a way of distinguishing different aspects of the beer industry.

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    3. I think everyone needs to take a step back. It's really only beer geeks and enthusiasts who argue, comment on, or even know the term craft beer. Judging by my 'non-beergeek' mates and workmates, most people don't care what a beer is labelled as, but they do enjoy a good beer (be it keg or cask) and are being turned off the likes of Heineken/Stella/Peroni and on to these new amazing beers comig through. Isn't that what's most important?

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    4. Pete, I meant to ask: you tweeted about hearing the best definition of craft beer you've heard a month back. Did you ever pubslish this?

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    5. I know everyone's angry but calling people retards is unacceptable.

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  11. The whole tedious/amusing debate is really about who 'owns' beer, isn't it? A lot of the criticism of the phrase 'craft beer' appears to be motivated by fear. For a long time, real ale=good beer was the equation in this country. It isn't any more, although (in my opinion) most of the best British beer is still cask. A new generation are getting interested in beer, they have their own term for it, and some people don't like it. Tough.

    As for decent keg beer, I disagree with Curmudgeon. It's making a huge impact in London. The likes of Camden Town and Meantime can be found in all sorts of pubs where they just wouldn't have been decent keg beer two years' ago.

    I agree with Pete about the term ‘craft beer’, btw. Who can define the term 'jazz' for me?

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    1. Who can define the term 'jazz' for me?

      "Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented." - Tony Wilson

      (actually, dunno if that's a real quote or just from 24 Hour Party People)

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    2. Yeah, Miles Davis had nothing on the Happy Mondays ;)

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    3. A generational shift is an interesting way of looking at it and the older minds seem to be the most vocal. And fear is an important aspect of this and it seems the tone of some of the 'anti-keg' statements comes from a lack of understanding.

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    4. I don't live in that London, fortunately. I have NEVER seen any "craft keg" ale in any pub that wasn't a specialist beer pub, if you exclude Robinson's Cheshire Black stout, which is more of an attempt at a Guinness clone. I have seen micro-brewed keg lagers in mainstream pubs, though.

      Or is Sam Smith's keg mild craft? ;-)

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    5. Nonetheless, London is still just about in the UK and it's making an impact here. Your personal experience notwithstanding.

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    6. Mark - I think I probably count as an "older mind" - after all I first joined CAMRA in 1979 - and you won't get any anti-keg rants from me (unless it's rubbish - over gassed and over chilled "craft keg" being the other side of the coin to flat, warm cask of course).

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  12. Seems to me that it is as much about perspective as anything else. I stopped worrying about this a while ago when I realised that keg beer isn't a threat to cask and does indeed complement cask in every "craft" pub worth its name. So in the main I agree with Mark.

    I also agree with Mudgie about lager. Someone ought to tell Will Hawkes that London isn't a euphemism for the UK.

    Lastly, extremists on both sides are missing the point. We need to ignore them unless they bring daft motions to AGMs or daft notions to their chains of pubs.

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    1. Someone ought to tell Tandleman that I didn't say London was a euphemism (proxy?) for the UK. I wouldn't; I know how uptight people get about that type of thing.

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  13. Or proxy or substitute. Take your pick. My point being, that just because it happens in London, that tells you little about the rest of the UK. It is though great to see London leaping forward beer wise.

    It is about time. And it may even be about money. As well.

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    1. I understand your point, I just don't accept it. The statement made by Curmudgeon - 'Also worth noting that so far "craft keg" has made pretty much zero impact outside specialist beer pubs. It simply hasn't gone mainstream' - is demonstrably false in the nation's biggest city, where 20m people either live or work on a regular basis.

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  14. There are many aspects in which London differs significantly from the rest of the UK - housing and transport being two perhaps rather more important examples.

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    1. More important, perhaps, but not more pertinent. There are many aspects in which London resembles the rest of the UK, too. I never suggested London was representative, merely that the example provided contradicts your claim. Which it does.

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  15. Maybe you could define "going mainstream" as "appearing in Spoons", which as far as I know craft keg ales haven't yet, although things may be different within the M25.

    I've seen craft keg lager in Spoons, though.

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  16. Totally agree with everything Mark says. There really are people on both side sof this argument who need their heads banging together.

    Interested by the suggestion that "craft keg" (horrible phrase) has gone "mainstream" in London? Really? Obviously I'm entirely unfamiliar with the London pub scene but is it really the case that these beers can readily be found in your average pub in your average suburb? If I went wandering at random in, oh I don't know, Ealing, Acton or Wandsworth, say, would there really be a plethora of pubs selling craft keg? Or is it really still some sort of bubble, but being London a rather bigger bubble with more pubs in it, albeit failry thinly spread outside the hipster areas?

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  17. Let me know when you define 'mainstream' ;) Meantime and Camden Town is now sold in Young's pubs - is that mainstream enough? Last time I checked, Camden Town supplied 250 outlets - far more than the number of 'hipster' boozers in the city. It'll be a lot more than that by now; Mark will know better.

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  18. Here in the U.S., the term craft beer might be stretched hard to its limits at times (with the big boys fighting to maintain their inclusion in the category), but there really isn't any confusion as to what the term means: "crafted," as in the saying "hand crafted."

    A cask ale in a beer bar suggests craft just as much as a keg pour or a bottle of the same beer. It's about the beer, not the container it is stored in, as has already been pointed out quite clearly by Mark.

    This debate going on in the U.K. seems to be isolated to the U.K. It wouldn't even be a discussion in the U.S. because the question itself wouldn't make sense. It's like answering the question "what does a mango taste like" with the response, "yellow."

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  19. Does Youngs sell just lager products from Camden and Meantine in their pubs? I would agree that availability has hugely increased though and London has done the London Brewed bit rather well too which helps.

    All interesting but not sure what conclusions to draw.

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    1. Yes, I was going to make a similar point before I had to dash off to a CAMRA meeting. I suspect that it is the lager products that are making these inroads (please correct if wrong folks) and to be honest I don't think this proves much at all.

      No matter how well made and "craft" it might be (with all due respect to Mark), it's still "lager" in the eyes of your average pub goer. I mean - Robinsons pubs in the Lake District sell Hawkshead Lakeland Lager and not for one moment did I consider that to be some sort of "craft keg" breakthrough into the mainstream.

      When Youngs pubs (and all the other PubCo pubs) start selling the more challenging "craft keg" beers (and as Mudgie has said, when Spoons start selling Punk IPA), then we can talk about a breakthrough. Until then it's just wishful thinking I think.

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    2. Young's pubs sell Meantime Pale Ale. Why do the beers have to be challenging? Stop moving the goalposts.

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  20. The trouble is, the right definition (or non-definition) doesn't work for marketing purposes - and the wrong definition does. Like this:

    Al was a brewer. He brewed bitter and mild and stout. "My beer's great," he said, "my beer's craft beer!" The people listened and they thought, 'craft' clearly means 'desirable, good-quality beer'. But every brewer wants people to think their beer is good. This is clearly a completely meaningless marketing statement which we can safely ignore. Al didn't sell much beer.

    Bert was a brewer. He brewed hoppy bitters, hoppy golden ales and extremely hoppy IPAs. "My beer's great," he said, "my beer's craft beer!" The people listened and they thought, 'craft' clearly means 'ridiculously hoppy in the American style'. Some of the people thought this sounded rather good. Bert built a small but loyal following.

    Colin was a brewer. He brewed keg bitters, keg IPAs and keg stouts. "My beer's great," he said, "my beer's craft beer!" The people listened and they thought, so that's what it means - 'craft' just means 'keg'!. Lots of people thought this sounded rather good - many of them were drinking keg anyway, and a lot of them thought handpumps were for hippies. Colin built a large following and sold a lot of beer.

    You see what I mean? The reason people have felt the need for a specific definition - to the point of settling on the wrong one - is that a specific definition works better than a vague one: you know when something does or doesn't match it. 'Craft beer' has acquired some definite connotations: it means something quite specific, to the point where it would seem like an abuse of language if those words appeared on a pump-clip for Bombardier or Hobgoblin. We can't turn it back into a synonym for 'good, well-made beer' just by wanting to.

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    1. Where can I get Bert's beer then? ;-)

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  21. That was a blog article you never needed to write.
    Good beer is Good beer, why can't we all just get along...
    I think I said on Twitter, we need to have a Cull, some Craftnic-Cleansing ;-)

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  22. I don't think anyone predicted that every pub in the country would rip out the Kronenbourg tap and replace it with a Magic Rock in the space of 12 months.

    But it is happening, probably about as quickly as you could expect (ie very slowly). As usual London is leading the way, but even in Cambridge there are 4 or 5 pubs who have keg IPA or porter on tap. Thats 4 or 5 more than there were a few years ago. I've yet to visit a city in the UK in the last few years that didn't have decent keg beer on tap somewhere.

    These things are going to take time, craft keg is probably simply not an option to the majority of punch/enterprise/ etc tenants, because the idea of a guest keg has yet to be invented. That'll be the day we can say its gone mainstream.



    Give it another few years and see how many there are then.

    The idea that craft keg is "only making an impact in specialist beer pubs" is a circular argument, surely?

    Don't see why Sam Smiths Wheatbeer isn't craft keg. Its keg and its certainly a decent enough pint.

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  23. Calls for unity and all getting behind the programme of “good beer” are nice but that isn’t human nature. We do not and cannot all hold the same opinion. It’s just the way it is.

    Before defending the CAMRA man I would say that my opinion is far nearer to Dredges but dismissing the CAMRA man as a retard with outmoded opinions is to fail to understand him.

    CAMRA never have been a campaign for good beer or the campaign for choice some CAMRA commentators like to claim. Though I applaud their efforts to make CAMRA in the organisation they wish it to be. It is by and large a campaign for tradition that wraps itself for obvious reason in the notion that the tradition it defends is good. Why else defend it? It is a wide collection of many views all of whom nominally like a pint of hand pulled bitter. As such it is often a campaign against things some of its members see as a threat to cask ale, or simply and for whatever reason dislike. Whilst those that roll their eyes at that sort of thing applaud themselves for being more enlightened.

    Craft keg may be no immediate threat to cask ale and the idea of a threat may well be currently laughable. Step forward 20 years and a new generation of drinkers are with us, and an old one passed away. Whilst the majority of that generation may enjoy the odd drink whilst living otherwise productive and enjoyable lives, a minority of that generation will become beer enthusiasts. If that generation of beer enthusiasts care not whether their beer is cask conditioned, CAMRA have lost. Hence they need a new generation to care about that sort of thing. Not everyone, just enough to keep the beer festivals running and a few of their favourite pubs open. So you see, a campaign for good beer simply will not do. The rest of the beer market has little interest other than being something to decry or dismiss.

    The CAMRA man may be many things, but a retard he is not.

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    1. The thing is Cookie, 90% of actual, real-life CAMRA members couldn't give a monkeys about the technicalities of means of dispense. They neither know nor care whether the beer they buy is bottle or brewery conditioned or whether a cask breather is being used in their favourite pub.

      Furthermore, judging by the CAMRA forums, the majority of CAMRA members who have actually tried craft keg like it and would happily drink it, and wish the organisation would support it.

      The aims and obsessions of CAMRA the organisation do not in any way reflect the opinions of the vast majority of CAMRA member. THIS is the problem here, and the reason why the majority of dissatisfaction with CAMRA policy is coming from inside, rather than outside, the organisation.

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  24. Draft and draught can exist side by side. They should compliment each other and not divide. It is a big tent and there is room for everyone ( well, except those who drink the mega swill.) I'm from the States and we don't have this battle here. We embrace well made beer be it from tap or cask. I visit the UK often and I was distressed to see the battle lines being drawn up on either side recently. I confess to being a life member of CAMRA but I also embrace some of the new brewers who are bringing tasty, well made brews to some of the pubs. I would think that promoting good beer regardless of the dispense would be the over all goal of both the new brewers and those who love real ale. Work together for a common cause against the giant industrial brewers. Not against each other.

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