A Good Beer Blog

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Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


Comments

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Tom Streeter -

These are fantastic. I'm posting a link over at our place and I have a feeling "national craft," regional craft," and "local craft" are going to become part of our lexicon.

And "krapht?" Genius.

Jeff Alworth -

I'm all for new names, but I don't know that your tripartite system for craft is quite there yet. The first issue is that "craft" remains quite murky. Which is craft: Craft Brewers United (Widmer/Redhook), Goose Island, Tugboat (a notorious Portland brewpub that makes about 50 barrels of funky, often infected beer, Sam Adams Light, Blue Moon?

I have my own definition for that, but it seems to satisfy no one and enrage many--so good luck parsing that.

The second issue is that the local/regional/national trichotomy is confounded by size. Rogue, as you point out, is national, but it's smaller than Widmer, Full Sail, Deschutes, and even, I think, Ninkasi--all regional breweries. In fact, even local breweries can be sizable--New Glarus is the 21st largest in the US--bigger than Rogue at 25. Aside from Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada, I don't know that there really are any other national craft brands. (And yes, I am navel-gazing about American breweries, ignoring Canada and Europe. But that just confounds things all the more.)

Kraphtt replaces "faux craft," so isn't strictly necessary; it's a lot better, though, so I'll happily adopt it.

Alan -

Size is not the issue for me. It's the business model. That way we avoid the embarrassing discussion the Brewers' Association dwells upon as to whether 2 million is small. [I do think this system works best with US or at least there is no real national craft up here.]

Stone is certainly a national craft brand as it's available from coast to coast. Plus it allows in Blue Moon as national kraphtt. [Better than crap but not quite craft.] So if we have three words for quality and three for scope of distribution, that is a nine category system.

- national craft
- national kraphtt
- national crap
- regional craft
- regional kraphtt
- regional crap
- local craft
- local kraphtt
- local crap

Is there actually local crap?

Win Bassett -

These are great! I especially like "kraphtt."

Ethan -

another thumbs up for the word 'kraphtt;" but defining it won't be easy.

Jon -

Yes, there is local crap. From time to time it happens.

Alan -

I think I am going to extrapolate this out further:

- national artisanal
- national craft
- national kraphtt
- national crap
- regional artisanal
- regional craft
- regional kraphtt
- regional crap
- local artisanal
- local craft
- local kraphtt
- local crap

Then in each class the beer can graded from poor, isn't bad, repeat buy to excellent. There will be gaps. There is no national artisanal. There is no local crap that is excellent but there is some regional crap that isn't bad and a few that are repeat buys.

This is a consumption focused scale so scale of brewing operation is not all that relevant. It is also inclusive of all beer, not just craft.

As it is a sliding scale so just like the compass can tell you you are heading east north east you could have a unimportant regional kraphtt/craft which makes beers that are in a range from not bad to repeat buys. If we adopt something like a Hugh Johnson system of symbols Sam Adams could be described as a "nat k/f ♦♦ - ♦♦♦" or a national brewer of kraphtt to craft which makes not bads to repeat buys. This could compare with a "loc/reg f/a ♦♦♦ - ♦♦♦♦" which would represent an important local craft/artisanal brewer which makes only repeat buy to excellent beers. That would be Jolly Pumpkin of Michigan.

Kyle -

Pretty soon we will have our own language a la Pig Latin or Elephant. It will come complete with lazy grammar rules, ambiguous spellings, and hand-gestures for after that last Rasputin, when your mouth just won't cooperate. Great post.