Beer has always been beer. It’s been around as long as humans have been in one spot long enough to make it.
So why is there now *suddenly* a definition of what beer should be?
I speak of the word Craft in reference to its use with the word beer.
When I started WEB I’d use the word, as did the crowd I hung with – the professionals I’d come to know and enjoy. The longer I’ve been around the industry though, the more I chaff against it. Here’s why.
When I was teaching public school a number of years ago, and even when I was in my education program in college, I quickly saw that labels and identifying words could be damning. And permanent in a very negative way, with both positive labels and negative ones.
Ever been called stupid? Unique? Smart? How about ADD, ADHD, Special Needs? Perhaps the titles originally were designed to help those who thought they were helping the student. Nevertheless, those same people conjuring up these titles ended up creating more damage than good. It works both ways: Champion, Winner, Title Holder. Pressure anyone?
People like to name things, because it helps us understand and go forward. Although for some, they become a crutch, a permission slip to not do this or that – or to do this or that.
I hated them as a teacher and simply wanted to see the student as the person they were. Yes, we all have qualities and talents and physical and emotional characteristics that make us who we are. They are should not solely define us or who we are and can be.
The same holds true with beer. To use one word to narrowly define what something “can” or “should” be is arrogant. Who gives whom the authority to create such a definition anyway? Or who decides to take the authority especially when it’s a universal item that most people on the planet have their own definition for already.
Yes, definitions change. It’d be impossible for something to not change. Mother Nature changes, people change, times change. My beer is like my body: it’s up to me alone to define what it is. It’s personal and to have someone tell me otherwise – that’s not beer – is ridiculous, disrespectful and unacceptable. They’re invalidating my opinions and beliefs.
It’s time to change “back” to no delineation. It’s time to recognize and work with all beer, tastes, flavors, recipes, and ideas of what beer is, can be and what people want their beer to be.
To create delineations in something as universal as beer is also anti diplomatic. Why create and drive another wedge into something everyone already owns themselves? Our energies and efforts are much better spent elsewhere. You shut out as many people or more than you bring in when you draw a line in the definition sand.
And no, don’t argue with me that one kind of business that makes one kind of thing is better or worse than another. It’s untrue. Along with that, ‘small’ is a word I also loathe when applied to business. There’s nothing small to an effort you put your entire life into. And all big/ger businesses started much smaller as well.
I could go on and on about this. And will pick it up another time. For now, here’s where I stand. Beer is beer. Let’s leave it that way.