Crafty Moves..

I’m a little bemused or should that be “beermused”..

beermused – deeply absorbed in draught; “as distant and bemused as a professor listening to the rattling of his freshmans glass”; “lost in froth”; “a preoccupied brown”(made up word, possibly)

It’s about the new wave of (super)”Craft” breweries that are springing up in the UK from nowhere, from shall we say a slightly more “advantaged” financial position than your average craft/micro brewer.

Now I’m not going to go down the well-worn what is and what isn’t craft, nor am I going to try to define it myself, it’s all been done and done to death, so if you read beer blogs regularly it can’t have escaped you. The question I can’t get my head around though is why would you bother to rebrand yourself as craft when clearly you have a long brewing history already.

There are a few large breweries doing this at the moment with no doubt more to come, some seem to be doing it well, others not so in my view. (I’m talking purely branding here)

Take Greene King for example “CRAFTED FOR THE MOMENT”, the word craft is splattered all over their website and the latest TV ad is almost laughable. The sleepy village pub, the rugged landlord striving to keep the jolly throng of folks topped up with foaming “hand crafted” IPA. Makes you feel as though they brew it in the barn out the back..


Here’s a couple more examples of others appearing to be needlessly trying hard to scramble on to the craft revolution bandwagon, nails clawing at it hopelessly as is rolls endlessly onward..

Daniel Thwaites Craft beers – “Our limited edition craft beers are individually created by our brewers and based on some of their favourite recipes, to bring you a repertoire of ales that suits every season and occasion. Let us know which is your favourite Signature Ale; there is a range of 13 to choose from throughout the year – remember, each is only available for a limited period.”

Brains Craft Brewery – “Brains today announced that it is to extend production facilities at the Cardiff Brewery by installing a new craft brewery. The brewery will complement Brains’ existing plant and enable them to brew a diverse range of craft cask, keg and bottled beers.”

The thing is I welcome the idea, please brew more tasty exciting innovative beer, I just don’t like the execution.

It’s obvious that all brewers need to move with the times, beer needs to evolve to meet the ever changing demands of the great and the good but why do you need to segregate it as a stand alone part of your regular business and label it CRAFT, Mutton dressed as Lamb?

It’s interesting but also a little hypocritical to think of huge mass market breweries installing small micro brewing equipment in their no doubt enormous brewing plants. I wonder how many similar micro breweries fell by the wayside along the way from either buy-outs or competition at the hands of these brewing behemoths.

To summarise, below is what this drinker thinks of your marketing.

You’ve brewed for years, so clearly have lots of skill, you also have access to the finest brewing equipment and ingredients. But, to make something new and tasty to attract new drinkers you feel the need to call your new beers craft, does that mean that the rest of your old produce is dull, tasteless and boring??

Because that’s the impression it gives..

10 thoughts on “Crafty Moves..

  1. And if you’re labelling your new pseudo-micro output Craft because you think that confers some special quality status, what are you saying about the rest of your output?

    • Totally agree mate, yes invest, yes try to improve and appeal to wider audiences it’s all good, but no need to suddenly declare yourself craft whatever the final definition. Plenty of other ways to skin a cat…

  2. no, it suggests that they realise they need to do different things to appeal to different categories of brewer and they can’t afford to take a gamble with the large scale plant so need to do smaller batches as trials. Similar to other breweries have a 1 BBL plant to trial 15BBL beers.

    • Steve I’m not doubting that, it makes perfect sense. I welcome the renewed vision to be creative, it’s going to change or at least improve my view of many bar tops hopefully. What I’m getting at is the rather blasé use of the word craft to promote it. It’s lazy and a little condescending in my view to think that people will see it and say “Oooh look, its craft, it must be good”.
      If you’ve gone over and above to create something new and exciting tell us, tell us about the premium ingredients, the vision behind it, you can still say you are Thwaites, Greene King, Brains etc etc but make that new strand stand out.
      Look at Sharps Connoisseurs Collection as an example. Similar idea, investment pumped in by Molson Coors to capitalise on the renewed enthusiasm for specialist beer. The bottles stand out, look and taste great, but correct me if I’m wrong but I could not see any use of the C word in their website marketing.

      • Agreed – it’s great that these breweries see the potential to diversify their range as long as they are doing it for genuine reasons rather than simply as a way to jump on a bandwagon by using the term Craft.

  3. Heh heh. Yeah, I once had a Diageo exec pitch his new pseudo-craft product at me and he was backpedalling within two sentences “Of course, as far as I’m concerned *all* our beers are craft beers.” Cue dirty look from the chaperone from marketing.

  4. This is nothing new, of course (as Ron Pattinson often says, very little in the beer world is). I have a Manchester beer festival programme from 1996 which contains an ad from Hydes referring to their beers as craft ales. They have also used this term for their bi-monthly specials for years now.

  5. Pingback: Two-Hour Beer Tasting Session in Henley Brewery

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