“Local” and “craft” are two words that are no longer relevant in beer vocabulary. Just my opinion…but I’m sticking with it.
Too often people support particular breweries on the basis of those two words rather than on the actual quality of the beer produced. Consumers often say the beer wasn’t very good at a certain brewery but they’ll give it a second, third or fourth chance simply because it’s down the street or the atmosphere was “fun”. Restaurants aren’t afforded the same leeway and people are quick to jump on Yelp with a one star review and never go again. Breweries are also creating a food product and they should be held to the same standard.
Lagunitas, Ballast Point, and many other accused “craft sell outs” still continue to make consistent and solid beers so choosing not to drink those brands on the basis of them no longer qualifying as “local” or “craft” is silly.
There is also the grey area of breweries that sold a minority stake to macro brands or private equity firms and large breweries with nationwide and worldwide distribution. Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams) is still considered a craft brewery based on the definition given by the Brewer’s Association but many would agree that they have outgrown that title.
Beer should be chosen and consumed based solely on its flavor and not where it was made or who made it. If anything the buyouts prove that quality and consistency have won and the industry should be celebrating that.
The craft beer industry evolved to compete with the large breweries on quality because there was no market space for cheap, big beer. The only reason the term “craft” became a household term is because there was an untapped market that needed to be exploited.
“Craft” and “local” are words that work as a marketing tactic to differentiate the beers you see in the grocery store. You have craft and everything else but when the lines start to blur, beers should be chosen based on “good” or “bad”.
Stop supporting “local” and “craft” merely due to the labels…and start buying quality over mediocrity regardless of brand.
Originally Published Dec. 7, 2015