“Craft: An Argument” Wins Best Beer Book Award

, “Craft: An Argument” Wins Best Beer Book Award

(Courtesy Pete Brown)

The question of what defines ‘craft beer’ has long been a hot button issue, in the states as well as around the world.

Companies like Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors argue that if a brewery was making craft beer, before they bought them, they remain craft after they become part of a Big Beer consortium.

But the American advocacy group the Brewers Association would disagree. The Boulder Colorado-based not-for-profit’s current position, which has seen several revisions over the last decade, defines a craft brewer as a small and independent brewer with these particulars…


Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to rules of alternating proprietorships.


Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.


Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.

, “Craft: An Argument” Wins Best Beer Book AwardIn the UK the terms craft beer and craft brewery are both embraced and dismissed.

Cask ales advocates like CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) have long had trouble with the concept, just as the groups like SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) are far more accepting.

But leave it to Pete Brown an award-winning British author, journalist, broadcaster and consultant, whose new book Craft: An Argument just won the prestigious Best Beer Book at the North American Guild of Beer Writers awards, to take the “craft” argument to a smart new realm.

And making the award-winning book’s journey even more interesting is that it was conceived, written, edited, and self-published in 13 weeks during the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown.

“I’ve always been as fascinated as I have been frustrated with the ongoing debate over the ‘definition’ of craft beer.” Brown  wrote at his website

And then, one day in 2019, I picked up a book about “craft” which said nothing about beer but inspired me to look more broadly at the notion of “craft” in general. There were plenty of parallels with the discussions happening in beer, but lots of differences as well. It was those differences that I found most interesting.”

When COVID-19 hit Brown and his wife Liz, who are both self-employed, saw their businesses dry up. And under lockdown orders, he threw himself into examining the complex issue…

And since the book’s subject matter was far more niche than any of the author’s previous nine books, his publishers passed and Brown turned to self-publishing for the first time with Liz assuming editing and production logistics.

Craft: An Argument takes on the intriguing premise that the term ‘craft beer’ is completely undefinable, hopelessly misunderstood, and absolutely essential.

And in it, Brown deconstructs the issues people have with labelling beer ‘craft,’ while exploring the modern craft movement, the ever-changing nature of work, and the evolution of language.

Heavy lifting in lesser hands, but the award-winning author’s conversational writing style ultimately proves persuasive.

And the fact that the entirely self-produced and  self-marketed Craft: An Argument has now been named the Best Beer by the North American Guild of Beer Writers is an encouraging win for both writers and beer lovers who think seriously about the subject.

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