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Thread: Craft vs Crafty

  1. #1
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    Craft vs Crafty

    This is a good article, not really news to many of the regulars in this forum, but it could be an eye opener to some.

    Craft or crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth : Stltoday
    telling me to stay out of a former bombing range next to a dump while you build huge houses next to it? Screw you.-sandmangts

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    Showed up in my inbox this morning, and I said to myself "Oh goody, new dirt on the faux craft from macros", but (as you mentioned) not much we didn't already know.

    Still a good read.

    It makes the whole Goose Island/Red Hook/Kona dichotomy that much more interesting.
    I take no issue with the quality of their beers, but hate the idea that profits are not really helping the craft beer community (not in true small business fashion anyway).

    Part of me believes in the morality of exclusive patron-ship to the craft community as a whole, which leads me to chose well outside the web of conglomerate backed/owned brewers.
    The other part of me see a more romanticized advocacy plan, in which by standing by these once independent brewers, a habitue can help lift them out of what financial set backs put them into said situation and regain their independence.
    This of course assumes that the brewery so desires such an opportunity, after taking advantage of tapping into the larger money flow/distribution/etc., e.g. Terrapin.
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    I'm a pretty recent beer forum contributor, and I don't follow the beer blogs. This gets me in trouble from time to time here because I don't know all of the narratives that have been floating around for a long time. Makes me look like I'm trolling sometimes, but I'm just a beer-talk newb.

    So for me where this stuff about industry purity gets fuzzy is with the explosion of all these local craft brewers. It's a great thing and all, but I get the sense that a lot of corporate money is involved in funding a lot of these projects. Not for the love of beer, specifically, but for profits connected to the world outside the beer industry. How much of it is about promoting, say, real estate? Tourism? I'm not talking about the motives of the brewers themselves, but the money has to come from somwhere. Again, I don't have a problem with that either, other than I get a kind of "gold rush/fever" vibe about the industry over the last 10 years or so. But I guess that's just capitalism...at both its best and worst.

    I'm just talking here. Trying to get a feel for what people think. I don't want to get all worked up into an argument, so, please, cut me some slack.

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    I think it all depends on the brewery in question and how they go about getting funding.

    I happen to know a number of people at Iron Fist, and that was a major family effort. Years of savings and lots of family volunteer hours went into getting that place off the ground.

    Other guys in San Diego were able to get loans from the City directly.

    I cannot speak for all breweries, but the general feel in the craft brew field is to try and avoid Venture Capitalist money if at all possible.

    I think that Mother Earth in Vista, CA is also a family funded project.
    telling me to stay out of a former bombing range next to a dump while you build huge houses next to it? Screw you.-sandmangts

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    I'm a pretty recent beer forum contributor, and I don't follow the beer blogs. This gets me in trouble from time to time here because I don't know all of the narratives that have been floating around for a long time. Makes me look like I'm trolling sometimes, but I'm just a beer-talk newb.

    So for me where this stuff about industry purity gets fuzzy is with the explosion of all these local craft brewers. It's a great thing and all, but I get the sense that a lot of corporate money is involved in funding a lot of these projects. Not for the love of beer, specifically, but for profits connected to the world outside the beer industry. How much of it is about promoting, say, real estate? Tourism? I'm not talking about the motives of the brewers themselves, but the money has to come from somwhere. Again, I don't have a problem with that either, other than I get a kind of "gold rush/fever" vibe about the industry over the last 10 years or so. But I guess that's just capitalism...at both its best and worst.

    I'm just talking here. Trying to get a feel for what people think. I don't want to get all worked up into an argument, so, please, cut me some slack.
    IMHO - to some extent it is all about promoting and selling. Any brewery is in the buisness of selling beer. Making beer is easy - selling at a profit is hard. There has been brewery fever recently - and possibly a bubble building in the craft brewery market. It happened in the 90s and may happen again. Me, if I am given a choice I will choose a local provider before regional and national players. But, you still have to give props to the big boys. without them much of the research (hop strain development, sensory tools, lab techniques, etc.) that paved the way for the little guys wouldn't have happened. It's one of the reasons I cringe when I hear people bashing the macros and being macro-haters...
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    Quote Originally Posted by debaucherous View Post
    It's one of the reasons I cringe when I hear people bashing the macros and being macro-haters...
    Bashing of an erroneous nature, yes, I totally agree.
    Taking a hard, close look at the economics/quality/values of the macros is another story, and very much worth delving into to.
    Funneling profit off-shores, under cutting raw material suppliers to the point of affecting quality in favor of margins, and using a monopolized three-tier system against the competition are just a few of the bigger issues.
    Technological development is great, but what good is all the tech and brain trust in the world, if your product is sub-par (even an amazingly consistent sub-par) and bean counters have more pull than the brewers?

    This is in no way a contradiction to anything you mentioned, simply an "in addition to".
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    I'm a pretty recent beer forum contributor, and I don't follow the beer blogs. This gets me in trouble from time to time here because I don't know all of the narratives that have been floating around for a long time. Makes me look like I'm trolling sometimes, but I'm just a beer-talk newb.

    So for me where this stuff about industry purity gets fuzzy is with the explosion of all these local craft brewers. It's a great thing and all, but I get the sense that a lot of corporate money is involved in funding a lot of these projects. Not for the love of beer, specifically, but for profits connected to the world outside the beer industry. How much of it is about promoting, say, real estate? Tourism? I'm not talking about the motives of the brewers themselves, but the money has to come from somwhere. Again, I don't have a problem with that either, other than I get a kind of "gold rush/fever" vibe about the industry over the last 10 years or so. But I guess that's just capitalism...at both its best and worst.
    Yeah...there's certainly a romanticism attached to the idea of a local brewer struggling against the Man, and where the big boys are engaging in "astro-turf" craft-brewing -- I'm talking about you, Shock Top -- there is good reason for righteous indignation. But, it is a business, even if it's a business you love.

    To me, it simply shows that the craft-brewing industry is like any other sector in our current version of capitalism. It's the mythos of "grow-or-die" -- McDonald's, Starbucks, and Starbucks all reached a certain point in their development when they felt (rightly or wrongly) that there was no choice but to expand. For some in craft brewing, it's worked reasonable well so far (i.e., New Belgium); for others, not so much (i.e., Pyramid).

    The question of "purity" boils down to their craft, rather than their size. Are they motivated to make good beer? Are they actually making good beer? And, importantly, are they trying to lift the standards of the craft brewing community as a whole?

    I'd argue that even "macro" craft-brewers like Sierra Nevada, DFH, Stone and Lagunitas are doing this. They are engaged with home-brewers; they advocate for the industry; they are involved in their local communities.

    (FWIW, here's another recent, not-necessarily-enlightening piece on "nanobrewing" in Slate: "Pint Sized
    How nanobreweries—fledgling operations in garages and backyard sheds—are revolutionizing the American beer industry
    ")

    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    I'm just talking here. Trying to get a feel for what people think. I don't want to get all worked up into an argument, so, please, cut me some slack.
    As long as you don't mention cancer or testosterone, you're already way ahead of the game. And a picture of a unicorn or lol cat every so often wouldn't hurt either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFryauff View Post
    This is in no way a contradiction to anything you mentioned, simply an "in addition to".
    Wait, wut? Reasonable discussion about beer? I though we stopped having those here.

    I agree that evaluating what I'll call in entirety the "corporate conscience" as a whole is a much better ruberic (sp?).
    I was gonna stop by and see you, but the Jehovas witnesses came by. When they left I started drinking. Voicemail from Paul

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    I guess the problem for me has become the beer selling/marketing has become a commodification of what we generally consider pure. So while I agree with what many of you are saying must be considered when looking at a brewery's business practices, I start feeling like I'm being had when I see the sales pitch of little-guy purity on glossy posters in the local Chamber of Commerce.

    So for an example--as pertains more to the general conversation in the thread than my point above--I was with a friend at the beer store a few months back. We were deciding which beers to get. I asked if he'd tried any of the Firestone beers. He said he wouldn't drink it because of the way Firestone tires did its business, and that the brewery was founded by the spawn of wealth and naked vulture capitalism. Plus, the Firestone beer dude was on tv's "The Bachelor". Pretty compelling argument, at least the starring in "The Bachelor" part. Made me consider giving up Velvet Merlin, unless it's on sale.
    Last edited by Slow Danger; 12-13-2012 at 03:32 PM.

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    I did not know that Firestone Walker Brewery had anything to do with Firestone Tires, but as far as I am concerned their beer speaks for itself, The anniversary beers and Parabola are a testament to that.
    telling me to stay out of a former bombing range next to a dump while you build huge houses next to it? Screw you.-sandmangts

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    I don't like beer, I love it. Whatever results in more beer knowledge, diversity, and culture has my support. Things get fuzzy on what that actually is though. Knew quite a bit in this article, not all of it, but most, and points out the fact that its never cut and dry.
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    Don't mean to call your buddy out, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    I guess the problem for me has become the beer selling/marketing has become a commodification of what we generally consider pure. So while I agree with what many of you are saying must be considered when looking at a brewery's business practices, I start feeling like I'm being had when I see the sales pitch of little-guy purity on glossy posters in the local Chamber of Commerce.
    I have to disagree with you there -- it's been that way in beer and in every consumer product since the dawn of time. False appeals to "authenticity" are par for the course in marketing, and something consumers should simply assume.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    So for an example--as pertains more to the general conversation in the thread than my point above--I was with a friend at the beer store a few months back. We were deciding which beers to get. I asked if he'd tried any of the Firestone beers. He said he wouldn't drink it because of the way Firestone tires did its business, and that the brewery was founded by the spawn of wealth and naked vulture capitalism. Plus, the Firestone beer dude was on tv's "The Bachelor". Pretty compelling argument, at least the starring in "The Bachelor" part. Made me consider giving up Velvet Merlin, unless it's on sale.
    Hmmm...I'll give you "The Bachelor" but your buddy's attitude strikes as being just a touch hypocritical. I mean, don't get me wrong...I'm way, way outside the 1% and as cynical about corporate America as the next socialist; but I'm not following the logic here.

    Your buddy's at a "beer store" about to throw down about as much as the average Mozambican makes in a week (just over $20, btw), and he's worried about the questionable ethics of capitalism? Hate to tell him, but he's soaking in it -- "it" being the first-world economy of America in the early 21st century. And that goes for the rest of us as well.

    Can we still all make a difference choosing local product when possible? Sure. But let's not fool ourselves into thinking that it will solve all of the ills of capitalism.

    Oh sh|t...that's probably going to touch off another tl1 rant of some sort...

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeePhroh View Post
    I have to disagree with you there -- it's been that way in beer and in every consumer product since the dawn of time. False appeals to "authenticity" are par for the course in marketing, and something consumers should simply assume.
    No, I hear you, GeePhroh. I think I'm agreeing with you that we are all way too late to be getting too extreme in our high-mindedness. High-mindedness is now a marketing schtick. So I have to judge the beer. At least so long as the company is not exploiting children or something totally crass.

    I think the point I am making is that the term "crafty", as applied to the original article link, may not be limited to the Macros anymore, at least in the beer purist/romantical sort of way. Again, this is just from that perspective, because I'm a romantic at heart. Let each brewery be judged by its own merits.

    In defense of my buddy, I think he was referring more to Firestone's history of exploitation in the tire business. He wasn't specifically making a 1% argument. Kind of like people don't like to buy Coors products because Coors contributes money to controversial political causes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post

    In defense of my buddy, I think he was referring more to Firestone's history of exploitation in the tire business. He wasn't specifically making a 1% argument. Kind of like people don't like to buy Coors products because Coors contributes money to controversial political causes.
    I don't buy colors because I can get water out of my tap for free.......
    telling me to stay out of a former bombing range next to a dump while you build huge houses next to it? Screw you.-sandmangts

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    Whatever gets people to broaden their horizons/tastes/palates is fine by me. I'd rather it be something local and small but if it's "faux" craft, so be it.

    The vast majority of beer nerds started out drinking something closer to Shock Top than Cantillon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    I don't buy colors because I can get water out of my tap for free.......
    I have no idea what this means? I'm not very hip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    I have no idea what this means? I'm not very hip.
    I think he meant "coors" not "colors".

    Either that or he is not a fan of the 1988 movie "Colors" starring Robert Duvall and Sean Penn as L.A.P.D. officers trying to keep gang violence under control in the streets of East Los.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    Plus, the Firestone beer dude was on tv's "The Bachelor". Pretty compelling argument, at least the starring in "The Bachelor" part. Made me consider giving up Velvet Merlin, unless it's on sale.
    So my comment above got me thinking, trying to remember my friend's exact beef with Firestone. Turns out the beer-maiking Firestone was not on The Bachelor, but his brother was. I have no idea if the Bachelor brother works for the brewery. Now I can drink Velvet Merlin without guilt.

    My friend, however, had a problem with Firestone because the rubber company actually did exploit child labor in Liberia. Not to mention a 50 year history of trying to cover-up tire defects that were killing innocent drivers. Plus for you public transportation dudes the Firestone family bought up public transit around the country and had it dismantled so they could sell more tires. The brewery got started on the family winery that was bought by the man responsible for some of this stuff. Should the son suffer for the sins of the father. No. But I have no problem with my friend begrudging the name enough not to want to drink IPA with the family name on it.
    Last edited by Slow Danger; 12-14-2012 at 11:02 PM.

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    I find the whole "us vs them" thing preachy and tiresome. Especially when the BA changes the definition of "us" when they see fit to keep the larger, more successful craft breweries in their group.

    Also I find it a bit hypocritical to promote taste/flavor as the most important factor, as they have done in videos/articles in the recent past, but now are implying that well, even though you may really enjoy Kona or Goose Island beers, you probably shouldn't drink them anymore because some "big company" in St Louis now owns them.

    I'll drink what tastes good to me regardless of if it's a "crafty" or "Brewers Association defined as craft" beer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeePhroh View Post
    Can we still all make a difference choosing local product when possible? Sure. But let's not fool ourselves into thinking that it will solve all of the ills of capitalism.

    Oh sh|t...that's probably going to touch off another tl1 rant of some sort...
    Not yet. To me the only issue is the quality of the beer. If a large conglomerate buys your favorite touchy-feely "cool and local" brewery then uses the revered name to place some mediocre quality stuff on the market brewed on a massive scale with cheaper ingredients to drive profits that's an issue. But... plenty of great breweries like Bell's, Stone, New Belgium and others have grown quite large w/o sacrificing quality. Given that I only drink one a day on average at the most, I am probably not one of their target consumers anyway.

    The real question is this: what do the future economics of the brewing industry look like when people are drinking less and less because of the very valid health concerns about alcohol consumption. That's not really on anyone's radar yet as far as I can tell. Would you still drink your favorite beers if they were low or no alcohol beers? Let's not even get into the economics of beer brewing if pot legalization continues to moves forward, mmmkay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    The real question is this: what do the future economics of the brewing industry look like when people are drinking less and less because of the very valid health concerns about alcohol consumption. That's not really on anyone's radar yet as far as I can tell. Would you still drink your favorite beers if they were low or no alcohol beers? Let's not even get into the economics of beer brewing if pot legalization continues to moves forward, mmmkay.
    please stop, please.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    please stop, please.
    Please stop bothering me. I said NOTHING offensive, rude etc. etc. Find someone else to continually hector.

  23. #23
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    ^^Hahahaha.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    please stop, please.
    Also, this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Id scrap the passion forum all together, its a breeding ground for unicorn milkers, rainbow chasers and candy cotton farters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    Please stop bothering me. I said NOTHING offensive, rude etc. etc. Find someone else to continually hector.
    It's the boy who cried wolf syndrome. You keep saying the same thing over and over again and eventually, whether it's valid or not, people lose interest. So yeah, it's not offensive, it's just annoying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    The real question is this: what do the future economics of the brewing industry look like when people are drinking less and less because of the very valid health concerns about alcohol consumption.
    I knew you could make the connection!

    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    That's not really on anyone's radar yet as far as I can tell.
    No, it's right there on your radar, tl1:



    Quote Originally Posted by tl1 View Post
    Let's not even get into the economics of beer brewing if pot legalization continues to moves forward, mmmkay.
    Too late. We're already living it in Seattle.


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