It is probably fair to say that my prediction of the demise of craft due to the stupid craft v. crafty mess was not entirely correct - unless we consider the health of its moral core. Could it be the smell back in late 2012 was the sign of things to come? Jeff may be getting his suspicions:
Ezra's comments about the new Stone launch follow an interesting article Stan linked to yesterday, by an Atlantic writer wondering if craft beer has gone too far. They have a point. Stone's corporate identity has always threatened to bleed over the thin line separating satire and self-importance, so maybe it's not the best example of craft beer's direction. The Atlantic piece drives the point home more pointedly: "So is this the future of U.S. beer consumption – a country that stumbles over itself to buy beer made with wild-carrot seed, bee balm, chanterelle mushrooms , and aged in whiskey barrels?" It go me thinking. If the craft beer market has become a contest over the most outrageous, has craft beer finally grown up and become its nemesis, mass market beer?
Now, this may all sound like the sky is falling but these things do happen. I was writing about Ontario's brew on premises fad of the late 80s and early 90s and read how they held 3% of the retail market for all beer by 1996. Then they went away. Mostly. People didn't want to pay the taxes once applied but, also, it smacked of recession in a decade of increasing prosperity when imports and micros became more and more the thing. Maybe the point is not that good beer will go away. After all, its not like beer is going out of style as the saying goes. But craft can over extend itself, can make itself a joke. People will move on to the next thing, the next good beer.
Which is exciting. What will it be?