Saturday, 19 June 2021

Where is the craft?

Whilst listening to Pete Brown talk about his book Craft: An Argument the term craft did, briefly, make sense. But his non-defined definition and the need for it have slipped from my mind and for the life of me I just can't see it any more. 

In America, where it all started as a reaction to the bland products produced by multi-national brewers, the definition of craft brewery has been changed and changed again until about all that's left is "not more than 25% owned by a multi-national brewery". I believe the largest craft brewery in the States now sells more cider and alcopops than their rather dull flagship lager. 

As to actual craft beers many of them sound more like alcopops now anyway, and certainly some craft brewers have embraced exogenous enzymes, bollocks ingredients including actual bollocks, and genetically modified yeasts (something multi-national brewers have never dared use). I'm not going to make any moral judgement but I can't see where the craft is. 

The standard bearers of craft beer in Britain have always been Brewdog and it's been obvious for years that they're tossers. Recently their ten year plan was revealed and they're going to focus on producing lager because they want to be bigger than Heineken. Can anyone tell me how becoming a giant lager selling multi-national is craft?

Their response to revelations about their awful toxic work culture has been straight out of the corporate playbook. A woman has been made chair of the board. Hurrah! A woman who happens to be boss of a venture capitalist firm, because nothing says craft like having a venture capitalist in charge. And to go with it there's the usual HR guff that I hope will have their employees stampeding to join the IWW

I've long thought that Orwell would have a few words to say about Brewdog:

 “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” 

But seems Nietzsche would too: 

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster."

I can't recall William Morris promoting a toxic growth obsessed work culture though. Craft: it's all bollocks really, isn't it?


  1. It needed saying, and you've said it :-)

  2. I've had 'debates' with raging craft advocates who insist the family brewers who own pubs at the heart of the communities they trade in and produce traditionally crafted British ales are 'macro' while Tristan creating nitro keg with his trust fund money for elitists in an occasionally open brewery tap are 'craft'

    I took that to mean 'craft' meant 'wanker'