Craft vs. Crafty

Last week, the Brewers Association released a statement about big corporate breweries making “craft-like” beers. People have been making a lot of online chatter since the statement was released, and I thought I want to release my thoughts on the matter.  It’s bullshit.

Goose Island was one of the most respected craft breweries in America. I say was, because they were bought by ImBev (aka Budweiser) a year ago and are no longer considered a “craft” brewery.  Goose Island is also about to be available in all 50 states, which is something they didn’t used to be able to do.  I am very excited about this new development, because Goose Island is some great fucking beer.

And let’s talk about The Rules.  To be considered a craft brewery, it must produce less than 6 million barrels a year, cannot be owned by another alcoholic beverage company, and must use all malt in their beers. To put it another way, the rules are set up to be a cool kids club which makes the rules to keep out people they don’t like.

6 million barrels. That is producing 186,000,000 gallons of beer a year. That’s 1,488,000,000 pints of beer in a year.  The crazy thing about that number, it was 2 million several years ago.  You know why it changed, because Sam Adams kept growing, and knew they were going to be making more than 2 million barrels.  New Belgium and Sierra Nevada are also probably going to surpass that number in a few years once their East Coast breweries are running.

Brewery independence, what a crock of bull, especially because of the regulation about it being about alcoholic ownership. A rule they don’t even follow themselves.  If Tito’s vodka, an independent distiller, decided to start a brewery, it wouldn’t qualify.  But if Exxon/Mobile decided to start one, it would.   I might be wrong about whether a brewery owned by Tito’s vodka would be considered a Craft Brewery.  I noticed that Anchor isn’t on the list of “non-craft” breweries, but the are owned by the company who owns Skyy Vodka.

Traditional brewing methods also makes no sense to me.  Yuengling is the oldest brewery in America, but they don’t count as “traditional” because there is some corn in their flagship beer.  To me, that is what is in a traditional style American lager.  Why is that not OK, but Belgian style ales that use candi sugar are considered fine. Seriously, the rules don’t make a lot of sense to me.

Making rules about what is and isn’t a Craft brewery is fine, but calling out brand for not being craft is a dick move.  Brewers association, I thought you were better than that.  Almost any craft beer that anybody gets is going to be a business first, and their business is beer.  I don’t know of any craft brewery which isn’t expanding like crazy right now.  They can, the market is there for them, and it’s great.  I just don’t get why you are trying to divert the attention away from the beer.

About the beer, Coors owns a company called AC Golden, and I everything I hear about them is that they make fantastic beer.  If you can send me some I would really appreciate it.  It’s not a craft beer, but if it’s delicious, I don’t care.

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