In the first two parts of this article, I argued that the term “craft beer” no longer had a worthwhile definition for most homebrewers and beer lovers. There was a time when the beer we liked was produced by breweries that were small, independent, and traditional. They were also frequently local. But all that has changed. So what can an average homebrewer do? [Read more…]
In the first part of this article, I offered the opinion that the term “craft beer” should be abandoned. Its internal logic has been so mangled by repeated redefinition that it is no longer useful. Small doesn’t mean small anymore. Independent doesn’t mean independent, and traditional can apparently mean anything (except brewed the North American lager brewing tradition of the 19th and 20th Centuries).
In this part of the article, I want to offer the opinion that the components of the term — small, independent, and traditional — are mostly just historical holdovers, and not the sort of things that most beer drinkers care about when they choose a beer. [Read more…]
[Disclaimer I: Most of the stuff I post on Beer and Wine Journal is factual information about brewing beer. Occasionally, I’ll post an opinion piece. This is one of those occasions.]
[Disclaimer II (Because It’s 2015 And This Is The Internet): This is my opinion. You may disagree with it, and that’s fine. I do hope you notice, though, that I’m arguing against an idea, not people. I’m not calling anyone names. I have tried my best to fairly characterize the opposing idea rather than attack a straw man. This is not meant to be a rant; it’s meant to be an argument. I hope it causes some brewers to think and starts a discussion. But I’m also hoping that any discussion is a rational discussion among people who understand that we all like beer. And our similarities, in this case, are more important than our differences.]
It’s time to ditch the term “craft beer.” There was a time when it had a semi-useful meaning, but that time is gone. The ever-changing definition of craft beer has led to a current definition that has little or no value to homebrewers or beer enthusiasts. It has internal inconsistencies, it is composed of disparate elements, and frequently spawns absurdities. It is also silent on what matters most to the majority of beer enthusiasts — beer quality.