Regardless of what country you choose or in which time period it is framed, three words can be used to characterise most early craft beer development: small, undercapitalised and ale. As much as the first two are fairly obvious - we didn't call it 'microbrewing' for nothing, and pretty much all small-scale start-ups are underfunded - the third, ale, is somewhat less self-evident. It is nevertheless directly related to its predecessors.