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02-10-2012, 11:23
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Well it is if you believe beer geeks that read this blog. My poll about whether cask beer can be considered craft is over and the results aren't that surprising. Of course, like all polls, some didn't like the questions and suggested that different questions should have been asked. If I'd thought about it at the time, would have included one suggestion - "that there is no such thing as craft, it's just a marketing term."

So what did the voters say? A respectable 130 voted. Only two brave souls (1%) agreed with the proposition that craft beer comes in bottles and kegs/keykegs. That is a little surprising, as actually, I think a very good case can be made for postulating that when people think of craft beer, that's usually what is conjured up in their mind's eye. Of course, my readers being a sophisticated lot, saw through that and most (83%) thought that cask could be, or indeed is, craft beer. The majority within that group thought it depended on "who, where and how" which is interesting.

What conclusions can one draw from this? Firstly that real ale, to most minds at least, is or can be craft beer. Secondly, that what for example BrewDog calls craft (keg) may well be, but then again, so would the cask beers they made before, which they subsequently abandoned as part of their "craft revolution". Thirdly and most importantly I venture, is that since people largely thought that cask is craft "depending on who brewed it, where and how, there is a fair degree of "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it". For my part, I'm tempted to come to the conclusion that craft beer is actually just "beer I approve of" and including cask is done more as a sitting on the fence, politically correct sort of thing, while actually associating "craft" in their mind more with keg and fancy bottles.

Like many though, I think that I'm tiring of the subject a bit, though I have to admit that airing it is usually fun. Inconclusive fun, but fun nonetheless. No doubt the debate will rage on, not least at IndymanBeerCon in Manchester on Friday, where I'm on a panel to discuss it with, among others, BrewDog James. Now he clearly thinks that craft is keg and that cask isn't and you know, in differentiation terms, I might well agree with him. In quality terms, I certainly don't.

So there's a bit of my take for Friday. Craft is at least partly a marketing term to differentiate new keg from traditional cask beer and from other discredited "old" keg beers. Bit like New Labour was termed to set aside Old Labour.

Of course none of this covers the important fact that increasingly the term "craft" is being hi-jacked by bigger breweries, thus muddying the already muddy waters even more.https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8629758183547510158-2788730252229010912?l=tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.c om

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