There’s been a lot of noise and chat over recent times about a word that seems to get far too much attention. Whether something is or isn’t or what the word should or shouldn’t mean, and whether a brewer or a beer is or isn’t.
We find it a little strange that elements of an industry that pride themselves on being different want to be put in a pigeon hole and be defined as something.
We think the industry has gone past its ability to define things. We have to let the drinker define what they like and what they value.
If you want to be tagged as a ‘craft’ brewer, then you have to walk the talk. Being a member of an exclusive or inclusive “craft club” won’t help.
Our thinking is that you just have to put your head down and arse up and brew good beer, behave so people build trust and respect in what you do, be authentic, be transparent and look after your customers and drinkers … if you do that, then people will support you, and they may even assign the tag ‘craft’ to what you do…if you want them to.
We don’t think you can BE a ‘craft’ brewer, you can only be described as one by other people, based on their perspective of you and their own personal meaning of the term. Let’s face it people have their own frame work and beliefs that will dictate what their own personal thoughts and meanings are when they use a word to describe something.
At the end of the day though, it’s a description that needs to be earned, it can’t be self proclaimed.
For us at Stone & Wood, we don’t really get caught up on whether we fall into a subcategory of the brewing industry or an imposed definition of a word, we just strive to be a good brewery, being a good team, brewing good beer for good people, and doing good for our community.
Sure we use the term handcrafted to capture our hands on approach to brewing, and to help people understand the variability of our beer, but it’s only a meaningful term if you live and breath it, and if people see the value in it.
It’s time the industry and its commentators moved on and focused on the many positive things that are going on in an industry that is transforming at a rapid rate.
After all we have the freedom to brew and drink whatever we want, we have the freedom to run our businesses however we want, and drinkers have the freedom to have their own opinions.
Trying to impose opinions and definitions on people works against the very freedom we have worked and fought hard to establish.
But as brewers who ask people to voluntarily pay their hard earned cash for our beer, we will all live and die by how we behave and people’s appreciation of the quality of our beer.
So let’s take time to reflect and enjoy what we have all created and how much growth and momentum there is behind the seismic shift taking place in the beer world.
It’s Australia Day weekend, so let’s just blow the froth off all this and celebrate all the good things with a good local beer.
Jamie, Brad and Ross