The Great Craft Debate

, The Great Craft Debate

(Can’t we just be friends?

There are a lot of sneaky industries in this world. I drive a Pontiac Vibe and I love it, but really, it’s just a Toyota Matrix. A friend of mine once said he’d never buy a Ford, then went and bought a Mazda, and literally just about everything is owned by Disney. So in this world of tactics and trickery, it’s nice to know that at the end of the day, I can go home, crack open a beer, and know exactly what I’m getting. Except that that’s not always the case.

In early December, the Brewers Association issued a craft beer minded call to arms against many “crafty” beers hiding undeservingly behind the “craft beer” designation (along with many other things but that’s an article for another day). Now, most of us don’t order a Blue Moon thinking that it’s a craft beer (we know that it’s produced by MillerCoors), but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the bottle. In fact, nowhere on their website do they even indicate that “Blue Moon Brewing Company” is really just MillerCoors. Blue Moon is far from the only offender, and the Brewers Association is calling for transparency, insisting that these “crafty” beers indicate somewhere on the product their true manufacturer.

Now, I understand this. I think there is something to be said for honesty, but in the end, is this really worth causing the stir? I have always referred to beers like Shock Top and Leinenkugel’s as being “fake craft” and never even considered that people might not know that they’re not brewed by small independent breweries the way they pretend to be. However, I have also used the term “Gateway beers” to refer to these. We all know someone who is having a hard time moving on from their favorite “triple hops brewed” pint, and one of the easiest ways to get them to open up is to give them a Red Hook. It’s not craft, and yes, it lies, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

So here are my questions.

To Big Beer: Is it really that big of a deal to claim your products? People aren’t searching the labels, and I think we could all use a little honesty.

To the Brewers Association: What’s the goal here? This sort of seems like someone went out one night, had a Goose Island, enjoyed the heck out of it, then realized it wasn’t “craft” (which, by the way, is a designation that you kinda created…) and got really upset that it wasn’t as “cool” as you thought.

(Also, how does Boston Brewing Company make the cup when they trade on the New York Stock Exchange?)

To You: How much do you care?

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