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My take on “Craft vs. Crafty”

It’s been a busy week but I’ve finally had a chance to take a look at the American Brewers Association article titled Craft vs. Crafty. It looks to be a pretty well planned attack on the big brewers (who are members of the BA). There are plenty of articles from blogs and major news sources with reaction.

While I agree with the premise of the article I do have some concerns. It is clear that macro breweries are trying to make products that impersonate craft beer. Two of the examples cited are Blue Moon and Shock Top. Both successful products from the macros. The large breweries have followed the “if you can’t beat em’, join em'” mentality. While this may put an end to some small breweries I think it is an overall good thing. If more people are exposed to beer with actual flavor, they might be enticed to branch out more, in effect actually helping the craft beer industry. Why is more competition in the space a bad thing?

There are more breweries in the U.S. now than there ever has been. To be fair, some of the craft breweries leave a lot to be desired. I’ve had some excellent beers and some terrible ones from various different craft breweries. Craft doesn’t always equate to quality. The process for making beer is the same, large or small. My 5 gallon batches have a lot in common with the 100 barrel batches that are brewed at the macros.

I think it is a bit short cited of the BA to slam the door on the big guys, when they are living proof that the craft beer movement isn’t going way. The macros are scrambling to find a solution to their shrinking market share. We know that they cannot match the quality of the excellent craft brewers who put everything ahead of costs. If you are confident in your product and produce a high quality one, the macros pose no threat.

I don’t like the David vs. Goliath scenarios that pop up all of the time. It’s fine for one company to go against another, but when you are talking about an entire industry, the argument loses a little luster. Maybe I’m way off here, but I don’t think this press release from the BA did anything to promote craft beer.