24 Nov 2011

It's time to grow up

"Unlike industrial beers, the so called "craft beers" tend to be yeast soups of incredibly irregular quality. That could be because they are brewed by amateurs who use equipment that is a bit more than improvised. These self proclaimed "Brew Masters", be it due to their poor knowledge of the trade or their limited business vision, often sell clearly flawed beers and expect the consumer not only to pay a high price for them, but also to accept and even admire them because they are "craft" or "artisan".
Can you imagine what would happen if someone published something like this? The author would be greeted by a barrage of heavy caliber insults fired by platoons of lovers of good beer. And it would be well deserved! That thing above is not only false, but also massively stupid.

Not a lot more false and stupid, though, than the first paragraph of this article published in a Chilean beer site (SP):
"The main difference between industrial and craft beer is found in the proportions, in the treatment of the raw materials and in the brewing process. Regarding the raw materials, their proportion is lower in industrial beers, which also use non natural preservatives."
It's not the first time (and I'm afraid, nor the last) that I read something along those lines and I wonder when they will cut it out with that bollocks.

Yes, it's true that there are, not few, "industrial" beers brewed with chemical additives, etc., nobody is denying that, but it's also true that there are, not few, "craft" beers and brewers that could very well fit in that silly description at the beginning. And yet, nobody in their right mind would ever think of making such generalization. Why then is it's OK to do it with the "industrial" beers?

If micro brewers, specially those in "emerging markets", expect to be respected and taken seriously, they should start by acting like adults and leave behind all that childish nonsense. There are a multitude of arguments that can be used to establish a rhetorical difference between "craft" and "industrial" beers, which not only are much closer to reality, but also will address more effectively the mature, and if you want, sophisticated, audience I'm sure many would like to reach. (Of course, those arguments would be as solid as a morning fart the moment someone gets a dodgy beer, but that's something that many brewers know well enough already).

It would also help, too, that those "craft brewers" who haven't done it yet would finally come to terms with the fact that their brewery is a COMPANY, a BUSINESS and not and art project or a political manifesto; that their beers are COMMERCIAL and that brewing is a noble TRADE people people have been practicing for a long, long time with the main purpose of MAKING MONEY. Wanting to make money, or to even get rich, is not a sin, and what we really care about is to be able to drink a consistently well made beer.

Na Zdraví! Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

6 comments:

  1. Brewing is serious work! If you suck, the business will fail. Sucking also hurts the serious brewers.

    BUT without the art/passion of the brewer and the people associated this, you would not taste nearly as many great craft beers. Opening a brewery is risky. The money made off a brewery is usually not so hot. As a business, a brewery is not the best decision. BUT "F" it! I want to brew. (Just don't tell my wife)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chris, I know. On the other hand, someone can be a very good homebrewer, but that won't automatically make them a good commercial brewer and if you can't brew well enough and don't know how to run a company efficiently enough, passion will not take you too far.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Correct. Without some know-how, research, and extra commitment... you probably aren’t going to take your 20L homebrew life to the commercial brewing world successfully. There are lots of new concerns from shelf life, maintaining brew records, cleanliness and such that are a necessity now rather than optional.

    So yes! It is business and you can’t be careless. Craft Brewing is making a business of your passion. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. "There are lots of new concerns from shelf life, maintaining brew records, cleanliness and such that are a necessity now rather than optional." As is getting all the paperwork in order with the appropriate authorities...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Passion is irrelevant. I'm sure the "industrial" brewers have people who work for them that are as passionate as any craft brewer. What is relevant is that it of far easier to 1) make negative assumptions and 2) sully the reputation of a giant, faceless mega brewery, than it is to call out the local brewer down the block. Unfortunately, "craft" has come to connote quality, and that simply isn't true—nor is it true that large industrial breweries only produce garbage. Let's not forget that large breweries sell millions and millions of gallons of beer each year. If thier product was that bad, companies like ABInbev wouldn't be some of the largest in the world. I'm not defending the business practices of some of these larger breweries, but let's not start to think that ALL craft breweries are without error.

    ReplyDelete