Saturday, 23 November 2013

Blue Fucking Moon Blues

Pah. I finally got round to starting my considered response to the comedy gold about defining craft beer on the Brewdog blog today and I found it's been changed. Blue Fucking Moon is not to be seen. The drivel from Greg Koch is still there (does he really believe this stuff?) but it's just not the same. It's like finding your favourite brewery is now 26% owned by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.

So I'm knocking my considered response on the head and this brief whinge is all I'll post on the matter.


14 comments:

  1. If it helps you to feel better, here's here's James Watt's comment on my response on the very same matter, where he mentions Blue Moon not once, but twice.

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  2. Interesting, but it doesn't have the comedy value of the original post. The 'craftiness' of Blue Moon may be a big thing in the US but I don't think anyone cares in Britain.

    I like your points about QA for 'craft' brewers.

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    1. The Blue Moon reference in BD's post is just another thing they've ripped off from the American discourse on beer. For what I've heard from a guy from BD I spoke with a few days ago, the problem doesn't seem to be that MC is selling Blue Moon as craft beer, but that some bars seem to be doing so. If that is true then A: there's little any definition, codified or not, can do about it and B: it's certainly not the big deal James and co. will want us to believe, but then again, every fairy tale needs a villain.

      re: my points about QA for craft brewers. It's interesting how James responds to that and what it says about his intentions. Anyway, I frankly don't think that, should an association be created, and "Craft Beer" becomes a protected denominations, QA mechanisms like the ones I propose would be too hard to implement.

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  3. I am not convinced it is much of a big deal here in the States either, unless one is a true believer in the church of craft beer.

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    1. Weirdly enough, the Blue Moon argument seems to have suddenly become relevant over here. There's a proposal which seems to emanate from Greene King to include, basically, all the family and regional brewers in the 'craft' category, and then distinguish between 'traditional craft' and 'new craft' or something. Pete Brown is in favour, but I think it's asking for trouble. As far as I can see the new definition either (a) draws a new line based on brewery size, including Spitfire but excluding Sharp's (and BM) or (b) reduces 'craft' to a marketing label which means three different things for no obvious reason (beer from old breweries, however dull; beer from new breweries, however poor; and beer from megacorps, as long as it's innovative and high-quality).

      (Side note - why on earth didn't James Watt say "Three words: Doom Fucking Bar" and take it from there? Is his head that stuck in the US scene these days?)

      Ultimately I think the only definition that works is (c): a completely meaningless marketing term, arbitrarily applied to beer that somebody wants to sell to you (metaphorically or literally).

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  4. I was on the same panel as James Watt and you not be surprised to learn that my recollections of the debate are rather different to his (all he really did was grandstand and in essence he had nothig original to say apart from the same old same old he's be spouting for ages and which he has again regurgitated here).

    Your post did however prompt me to read the contribution by Greg Koch. As you say, utter drivel (although I suspect he's not a man used to having his views challenged).

    I do see that despite the BD post being over a month old now nothing more seems to have happened (despite the gushing support from the loyal dog washed following). Now there's a surprise.

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  5. I couldn't work out if Greg Koch's stuff:

    1. Shows he's a twerp
    2. Is just marketing or
    3. Is an American thing I don't get

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    1. Koch accidentally told the truth: "The big companies wish to obfuscate and confuse. It is to their advantage."

      The market cap of Boston Beer is currently $3.09b. I think it's clear who the big company benefiting from obfuscation is here.

      Re: #3, I'm American, and while some people here really do talk like that, it makes no sense to me either.

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    2. Good point about Boston, there seems to be a bit of a large/small division withing SIBA too. And nice to hear it doesn't make sense to you either!

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  6. Possibly a combination of all three.

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  7. There was more comedy on their follow up

    http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/defining-craft-beer-take-2

    Particularly "If the brewer has an estate, at least 90% of the beer they sell must be craft beer"

    Which rules out brewers with pub estates that flog Carling even if what they make themselves is "crafted with passion".

    The Brewdog definition is crafted to ensure only Brewdog qualify as craft. Nicely done.

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    1. Some of the comments are priceless,
      "Beer that is brewed without managerial, historical or profit related constraints. Allowing brewers to have artistic control of their beer.Thats craft beer!"
      Just to give an example

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    2. It's not "craft beer" until you run it into the ground with poor business practice, then blame it on BMC co-opting your revolution.

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