Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Big Brewers: Crafty or Menacing?

The ever-on-the-money Boak and Bailey posted today about an opportunity for craft brewers as the bigger breweries come marching onto their territory.

There is definitely something to it. As larger breweries latch on to some of the more popular aspects of craft beer (relentless dry-hopping, for example), craft brewers themselves could be focusing their efforts on less scalable yet equally interesting techniques. The B&B post mentions experimenting with different yeast strains or less widely known styles such as saison. Stone, Victory and Dogfish Head work together in the States to get this idea right. They collaborate on just such a beer. They made a video about it, in which they state explicitly that their recipe cannot be scaled up for the larger breweries.

But all this made me think.


To play devil's advocate - the devil here being Big Beer - what if we say that the boom in craft brewing has been, at least in part, a reaction to the lack of flavour in mainstream beers. The fact that the big boys are finally getting their act together is surely a very good thing, something to be celebrated. And surely it leaves a clear territory for craft brewers to resurrect forgotten styles, to dare to reinterpret old favourites, and to help explore the shape of beer to come.


1 comment:

  1. If carling produced a genuienly real beer, with the same standard ingredients that you see from our favourite micros, and above all the beer was good, i dont think we could complain as surely all we want is great beer.

    However, i think the big boys are limited by cost. We all know it costs more to make good beer than bad, and this cost will be passed to the consumer which pubs, clubs and other establishments selling beer to "everyday" beer drinkers will be reluctant to do.

    So do i think the big boys in the craft market is good? Yes, as in my blog, if the beer is made with integrity and is great, but it can also widen the market for smaller brewers to access.

    Do i think it will happen? yes they will enter the market but thats to get the existing craft market money and i dont think anytime soon we will see Carling, John Smiths and Guiness swopped for Kernal, Hardknott and Arbor anytime soon!