It's a new year, a new web site and a new blog so now you finally get to hear my perceptive analyses of events. Which is very nice because I'm always right.
We'll start off with a sweeping overview of all the internal nattering and falling our over things that is currently going on in what is now known as "Craft brewing." What better way to do that than to give you my views on the term, Craft?
I personally do use the term craft. I use it in the same way I use the term, Quality: As a lazy shorthand to evoke some idea about values. I think that's all it can ever be because it doesn't actually mean anything. It just associates the user with other users of the term.
That in itself makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't really want to be associated with the negative hype against CAMRA and others which some of the disciples of craft are associated. So much so that I enjoy saying that we make craft real ale. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
Craft isn't my least favourite word though. that honour goes to the word "Brand." Ugh! I'm interested in making great beer. Call it what you like, I want to keep on making it better every time. A brand may well build up on the back of that, that would be nice, but setting out to build a brand and using beer as a mere commodity to be branded... that's just horrible and it's not something i have any interest in.
So how does all this shine light on why everyone is falling out over keg beers, hoppy beers, real ale, whatever? I think it's because some people are being disingenuous about what motivates them. That wouldn't be so bad if they didn't make such a big deal about how their motivation somehow makes their craft product better, but that's what they do.
Please don't tell me you're a skater punk who's trying to overthrow the establishment by brewing narly beers and expect me to believe you just because you wear enormous gymn shoes with the laces undone and have a pierced tongue, when your actions make it obvious that your prime motivation is to build a brand to sell to a multinational brewing brand conglomerate. I don't mind anyone doing either of those things, they are both pretty cool things to do if that's what floats your boat, but in combination they make an odour not dissimilar to what comes out the back of a bull.
Happy New Year!