Remember that debate about what craft beer is? Course you do, it was rather popular until we all more or less gave up on it as every time we thought about it, our heads ached intolerably. I sort of think we all decided on our own definitions and went off muttering words to the effect of "I can't define it, but I know what it is when I see it." Then we sort of put it aside and went off to lie in a darkened room. You might also remember that BrewDog same up with their own definition which bore an uncanny resemblance to what happens over the pond in the US. It was rather derided on this basis and that too seemed to die a similar death.
Now I learn that this very afternoon, that BrewDog, far from giving up on it like most of us, will put a new definition to the Society of Independent Brewers' (SIBA) AGM The BD website does give some details and urges those with thoughts on the matter to get in touch with them. The actual proposal to be put to SIBA members for discussion is rather elusive though. The links to previous definitions and discussions both give a 404 error (not found) and BrewDog Jonathan hasn't responded to my request for details (and seems today to have been removed as contact on the BD Blog), so I can't tell you what it is. What the blog does say seems to relate, not to craft beer, but to craft breweries. Here's what it says: "We believe that to earn its title a European Craft Brewery must be:
a) brews all their beers at original gravity
b) does not use any adjuncts to lessen flavour and reduce costs.
a) All ingredients are clearly listed on the label of all of their beers.
b) The place where the beer is brewed is clearly listed on all of their beers.
c) All their beer is brewed at craft breweries.
Is not more than 20% owned by a brewing company which operates any brewery which is not a craft brewery.
If the brewer has an estate, at least 90% of the beer they sell must be craft beer."
Notice what's missing? Yep. Definition of craft beer.
So? Any the wiser about what BrewDog are going to say today? Me neither, but hopefully we will find out after the event, as clearly we aren't going to beforehand.
It'll be interesting to see what the assorted SIBA types will make of all this. Are they craft? Dunno, but probably. Er. I think.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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