I mentioned that one of the recommendations of the Working Party on craft beer set up by CAMRA was to attempt a definition of craft beer in British terms. We thought that the best way would be to ask SIBA to join us in this, though nobody doubted that to achieve a successful outcome would be problematic, if not impossible. The main driver was to try and set some parameters and avoid large brewers jumping on the "This is Craft" bandwagon, as well as defining that beer could be craft beer irrespective of method of dispense. We didn't get that recommendation through and now, on reflection, it was probably just as well. There is little point of trying to close that door now. The term "craft" is now being widely used irrespective of provenance. Any streaky pig can and does call their beer craft.
Reading Boak and Bailey's viewsand the contributions from various people to their blog, shows clearly, that while most people know craft beer when they see it, when it comes to a common definition, there is little agreement and little to prevent anyone using the term "craft" in any context they like. Craft has always been a fairly meaningless term in a UK context and the whole thing is undermined by conflation with US craft definitions, which frankly, have little use here at all. In fact, it is the crossover, one to another that has created this daft situation where craft is either "beer I approve of" or good beer that isn't cask conditioned.
I know some don't like it, but to my mind craft keg is one definition that most people can understand. That is beer that is made with the finest of ingredients and then served by keg dispense. Real ale - cask conditioned beer - already has its clearly understood definition. It doesn't really need the term "craft". Keg beer does, to attempt to overcome the stigma it has achieved for itself over the years.
How about that then? Works for me anyway.
I commend Jeff Alworth's comments. He talks sense for a Yank trying to get his head round British peculiarities.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, 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 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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