What is a craft beer? Do you know what the new term “crafty” means? Do you care?
Apparently it is a big deal. So big of a deal that the Brewer’s Association has issued an official statement which includes a plea:
“And for those passionate beer lovers out there, we ask that you take the time to familiarize yourself with who is brewing the beer you are drinking. Is it a product of a small and independent brewer? Or is it from a crafty large brewer, seeking to capitalize on the mounting success of small and independent craft brewers?”
You can read the whole thing here. The idea is that people drink Blue Moon and Shock Top “thinking” that it is made by a craft brewery. Most people I know who drink Blue Moon or Shock Top couldn’t care less who makes it. They like the taste. And once they dip their finger into the pool of craft/crafty beers and get over the fear of drinking something that isn’t almost clear it is a domino effect that eventually leads them to our patio to enjoy a Honey Wheat and join our community. Is there harm in the fact that the way they got there is through the marketing dollars of SABMiller and Anheuser-Bush InBev?
There is an unnecessary divide between “small” and “large” breweries these days, especially those who consider themselves ‘local’ to a particular region. As a “small,” “local,” brewery, Tractor Brewing embraces its fellow beer-makers—we love the friendly competition, and we understand that different people want different things out of a beer. We also know that plenty of our patrons have varied and eclectic tastes, and fully enjoy throwing back a Bud Lite Lime in the middle of summer when it’s her birthday and she’s camping. We don’t judge. You shouldn’t either.
Fact of the matter is that Miller, Coors and even Budweiser started from humble beginnings. They just made a product that people liked and grew to be very successful. The big guys and their distributors employ a large number of Americans. Even some here in Albuquerque.
More breweries than ever are popping up in New Mexico, and we embrace them wholeheartedly. The more people who drink beer, enjoy beer, and further their beer knowledge, the better it is for all of us—a collective knowledge pool is much more powerful than individual smarts. Tractor prides itself on being a breeding ground for community-mindedness, and we don’t exclude a community of beer-makers from that, even if they operate on seven (or seven hundred) times our yearly budget. And God forbid that in 100 years we are one of the “big boys”, we hope that everyone will still be kind.