Last week, the Brewers Association announced a new seal, which would let consumers know whether or not a certain beer fits their definition of “craft.” Hop Culture featured a picture of the seal on its Instagram page and got some insightful comments.
“I think it’s a great way to get the craft conversation started for consumers who are not aware of the issues facing craft beer and this segment of the industry,” wrote @jenelizhomebrews.
“I think it’s a great idea,” wrote @drinkdrankblog. “CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) do[es] something similar in the UK to show which beers meet their classification.”
Although most commenters were excited about the concept, others raised valid criticisms.
“Strictly speaking in terms of the mark itself… an awful design, poorly executed typography, and overly complicated,” wrote @jimhargreaves. “It’s poor craftsmanship will keep it from reaching the kind of recognition that other certification logos (e.g. USDA Organic) enjoy.”
“I’d really love to see it succeed but I’m worried that most won’t care unless there is a real industry drive to make it work,” wrote @thegreatbeerdad.
At Hop Culture, we support independent craft beer and initiatives undertaken in the spirit of preserving the craft community. More than flavor, texture, or the thought of netting something rare and elusive, we’re passionate about culture. Personally, I enjoy waking up early to stand in line outside a business I support and discuss beer with strangers who quickly become friends. I like that craft breweries, more so than any other small business I can name, seem interested in selling local, taking care of their fans, and supporting one another.
Which is why I think that Budweiser’s recent video response to the Brewers Association’s seal, “Six Viewpoints from The High End,” falls flat. In the video, Anheuser-Busch InBev features the different owners of their “craft” brands denigrating the Brewers Association’s decision.
“At the end of the day, the beer does the talking,” says Garrett Wales of 10 Barrel Brewing, which announced in the Fall of 2014 that they were selling to AB InBev. “Not the label on the package.”
We disagree. Wales’ argument — which is frequently echoed by other members of the AB InBev collective — presupposes that flavor is the number one factor in consumer purchasing. It’s not. Craft fans care about the people from whom they’re buying. They enjoy being part of a community. It’s a community that AB-InBev has actively worked to destroy, which is why it’s difficult to get on board with their talk when they approach craft in the spirit of cooperation.
Until AB InBev approaches craft with an authentic attitude, it’s important to continue educating consumers about the differences between macro beer and craft. Regardless of issues with the Brewers Association’s design, we applaud them for taking steps to support the craft community.
Stay strong, stay true, stay fresh, stay fly,
Editor in Chief
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