We use the term “craft” – be it “craft beer”, “craft brewery”, and sometimes “craft bar”. But what does it mean?
That’s a very emotive & much-debated question in the British beer scene. The simple fact is that, whilst many have been proposed, we simply do not have a definition. Most arguments seem to boil down to “I know it when I taste it”… the utility of which isn’t really going to get us very far. The cynics (us, quite often) say it is a meaningless marketing term – to be used, and undoubtedly much-abused, by office-dwelling marketeers. Then there’s the nitty-gritty – folk who think it basically just means “keg” as opposed to “cask”, others who go by American definitions based on brewery size and ownership, and even those who will point out specific styles of beer as craft and not-craft. Basically, it’s all a bit of a damn mess.
But – if us Jolly Good Beer folk use the term – what do we mean by it? We’re a little hazy about this I’m afraid… but we think of it in fairly simple terms: good beer. We’re happy with an inclusive view of craft… and think that even if there was some industry definition a majority of savvy drinkers wouldn’t really pay it much heed and would stick with their own “know it when I see it” worldview.
So, what is “good beer”? In our idealised view it is beer that has been produced primarily for its own sake – not based on corporate budgets, market research, focus groups, and produced to the lowest-common-denominators. This doesn’t mean it is beer blindly brewed for love and not money! Brewers have to feed themselves and pay their rents and mortgages just like the rest of us.
We aren’t claiming this is “a definition of craft beer”… because how do you really measure any of that, and besides, even “good beer” is a subject of debate.
We regard all the beer we source and sell as bring “craft” – aka “good beer”. But we do believe that for a pub or bar to truly be a “craft” venue it has to embrace beer in all forms. The craft beer utopia is a pub where variety and excitement are available cask, keg, and bottle – no holds barred.