Blog: Craft brewers cut up rough
James Wilmore | 21 December 2012
Fresh battle lines were drawn over craft beer last week after the Brewers Association took a swipe at the big beer firms.
The US group accused the majors of trying to “blur the lines” between their mass-produced products and "genuine" craft beers. More "transparency" over the labelling of products was also needed, was the verdict.
No doubt this outburst was partly inspired by moves this year by Anheuser-Busch InBev to get a bigger foothold in this increasingly attractive sub-sector. The brewer has even set-up its own craft advisory board.
For added extra, the Brewers Association re-stated its definition of a craft brewer: "Their annual production is 6m barrels of beer or less and no more than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.”
The problem the group has - and it must be acutely aware of this - is that only a small percentage of the population really cares about whether the beer they are drinking has been brewed by a so-called "craft" brewer, or a company where profit is perhaps more a priority than palisade hops.
As beer writer Will Hawkes says in his new book - Craft Beer London - for some, craft beer is a "rather ambiguous term which merely serves to obsure what really matters about beer - whether it tastes good or bad".
Hawkes does suggest, however, this is more the view of mature drinkers who turn their nose up at the young bucks revolutionising the brewing world.
But this distinction does draw out what the Brewers Association has in its favour. With the mis-trust of big corporations at an all-time high, the glare of social media, and savvy consumers caring more about a product's origins, there is a wide space to push the craft beer message - particularly among the younger generation.
My message to the Brewers Association would be: don't worry too much, trust the people.
Follow me on Twitter @jamescwilmore
The long-running spat between US and Czech brewers stepped up a notch this week after the Czech president described American beer as “filthy water”....
I've stopped short of covering it as a product launch story on just-drinks, but take a look at this. Released this month in the UK, Snuffle Dog Beer is already available in 25 markets....
PepsiCo received high praise when it announced it was to launch its stevia-based Pepsi extension True exclusively on Amazon in the US....
Sean 'Diddy' Combs, the US rapper and entrepreneur, has publicly turned against his apparent former favourite Tequlia brand, Patron, now that he is joint-owner of DeLeón Tequila....
- Why Chinese beverages won't conquer the world
- Is “Craft” the Next Big Thing for Soft Drinks?
- Petropolis Finally Moving into SABMiller's View?
- Gin: Plymouth's from Plymouth, London's from...?
- Can Coca-Cola fuel SABMiller's soft drinks story?
- Diageo confirms Australia RTD abv drops
- Pernod launches online Ballantine's "experiment"
- Global vodka sales slip in 2013 - research
- SABMiller returns to Brazil with Petropolis tie-up
- Pernod takes Absolut Warhol push to Travel Retail
- Early Signals: future scenarios that will drive consumption and product innovation over the next five years
- Global Scotch whisky insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends research
- Global vodka insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends research
- The IWSR Forecast Report - 2014-2019 Global Review
- The IWSR Global Trends Report 2014