Uncategorized

A better option than a definition of craft beer

Respecting-the-Carft-square-bw

Bridge Road’s consumer information logos – makes a hell of a lot of sense. And if we’re lucky it will kill the “we need a definition of craft beer to help the consumer” argument stone dead

Coming up with a definition of ‘‘craft beer’’ has always seemed like a pointless exercise to me. And yet the industry spends a staggering amount of time and energy trying to come up with what ‘‘craft beer’’ means.

And don’t even get me started on ‘‘indie beer’’. Okay, too late – yeah, people are having so much trouble defining ‘‘craft beer’’ that what we really need is ANOTHER vague value-laden phrase. Another phrase that is tied around ownership and fucking meaningless fluff like ‘‘spirit’’ or ‘‘a sense of innovation’’ and not around, you know, the actual beer itself.

I don’t bother with the whole definition thing – for me there’s ‘‘good beer’’ and ‘‘bad beer’ and that works for me. I know the difference between the two (which is answered by the simple question ‘‘do I like this beer?’’) and it’s a very effective guide for me when it comes to navigating the world of beer.

And, to be honest, I don’t think the general public gives a damn what ‘‘craft beer’’ is. It’s only those in the biz who want to define it, as a way of stopping the big guys from calling themselves craft. Which is, again, pointless. Say we all agree on a definition of craft – what’s to stop Coles from calling their Steamrail range craft? Absolutely frigging nothing. A definition would have no legal force. We’d have spent all that time coming up with a definition that makes us feel all soft and cosy but doesn’t actually do a goddamn thing.

But I get the industry would like some way of distinguishing itself from the big guys. How do they do that?

Well, they could do a whole lot worse than Ben Kraus at Bridge Road, who has come up with the Respect(ing) the Craft’’ idea. While I’m not a fan of the slogan – the brackets look a bit clumsy – the idea behind it is great. They’re tagging their beer with a few symbols (pictured above) that identify them as 100 per cent brewed in house and independently family owned. The ‘‘Authentic. Real. Honest’’ one I’m not so hot on – they’re vague and any big brewery could get away with using them (but that’s how Bridge Road sees themselves, so that’s fine). But it’s hard to see the likes of Coca-Cola Amatil with their Yenda range having the balls to call themselves independently family owned.

It’s a great idea because it’s not a definition of an entire industry – it’s just something that defines Bridge Road. It spells out to people the background of the brewery in a straightforward way. And it goes a long way to showing to the average person why Bridge Road beer is different and why it might be worth spending a few extra bucks on a six-pack.

People might not know much about beer, but I reckon plenty would associate something made in house by a family company as better than a beer coming from a massive factory owned by a multi-national.

It’s a campaign that uses words that the average consumer will understand, rather than some long-winded and hair-splitting definition of ‘‘craft beer’’.

After all, it’s the newcomers who need the message, not those of us already on board.

Advertisements

It's your shout

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s