So the arguments about Cask and Keg rumble on, I suspect they are never going to stop but a couple of people have asked the question, what is a craft brewery? and what happens to the breweries that aren't considered 'craft'?
Two extremely good questions, lets deal with them one at a time?
What is a Craft Beer?
Well this(below) is as good a statement as any and it seems to provide more tradtitional breweries such as the *Moorhouses and Fullers of the beer world a foot through the craft beer door :
Craft Beer is an American term which is also common in Canada and New Zealand and generally refers to beer that is brewed using traditional methods, without adjuncts such as rice or corn; brewed for distinction and flavor rather than mass appeal (from Wikipedia).
Now I know that there are writers and bloggers out there that will spit their beer out at the thought that an Americanism might be spoiling the language or beer and brewing but that's just tough, you know as well as I do that our language is a very fluid thing.
But I'm not here to talk about language, I started this to try and define craft beer and I don't think I'm doing a very good job!
I personally think that craft beer is beer that's had the personal touch, where the brewer has taken the time to select the ingredients carefully, put a bit of thought into the beer he/she is brewing and then do their best to get the beer to the outlet in the best possible condition(be it from a Cask, Keg, Bottle or Can).
Personally I also like the thought that there are breweries and pubs being the centre of the local community. You only have to look at Pontypridd to know what I mean.
Don't get me wrong, I don't only drink craft beer, I have been known to drink a mass produced lager or two in my time and if you've read this blog for any length of time you'll know that Guinness is myt 'go-to' beer for want of something different, but I drank these beers in the knowledge that they are mass produced and that very little 'craft' to speak of has gone into them. I just happen to enjoy beers that I know have had some effort put into them. So sue me.
What do you think of the wikipedia statement above? I think it's a very reasonable way of putting things, it keeps breweries like Moorhouse and Fullers in the craft beer picture and rightly so in my opinion. Why shouldn't these breweries claim a part in the craft beer revolution?
So what about the other question? What happens to the breweries that aren't considered craft? who knows? not me. I'm not naive enough to think for one minute that these mass producing, monolithic multinational brewing monsters are going to go out of business any time soon as why would they? At the moment they have a place in the market. They produce (relatively) cheap beer and the masses still drink it, for want of something better I suppose. Partly I think because craft beers tend to be more expensive and 'the people' still have these prehistoric hangups about how cheap their beer has to be.
Watch this space I guess.
*These were just two of the breweries that were either mentioned to me or mentioned in other posts on the subject.