Creating a community involves many facets of consideration. One of them being language and terminology.

One word the beer world uses is ‘craft’ – and I think it’s hamstringing those who use it. Here’s why.

Classic example: Having recently presented at the Nightclub & Bar Show, Las Vegas Nevada, I was paging through the program. Looking for who else I knew presenting, interesting topics to read up on, and making sure I had my info straight pre-talk. I did see a few familiar names (always fun) and new topics to investigate (good for the brain) and my info was straight.

What I also noticed was the page on their Craft Brew Pavilion. Here’s what I find odd.

  1. The Brewers Association has self-determinedly put forth their definition of what a craft brewer is, not what a craft beer is (they try to be very direct about this differentiation).
  2. The industry of ‘craft beer’ has embraced this delineation. I appreciate having guidelines and parameters in some areas of life (like when I’m driving), yet beer is for everyone – and the term ‘craft’ really has nothing to do with the consumer; everything to do with going to market and production considerations for brewers. Yes, some consumers want it yet all brands should be founded on their own merits to begin with, not relying on one word to make or break (that’d be foolishly shortsighted).
  3. The word craft is like the word Natural was in the 1970’s – at first it had some legitimacy; then everyone started using it thinking that consumers would flock to the products that advertised as much, however true or untrue the claims. And there was and still is (to my knowledge) a set global agreed upon by multiple bodies definition of the word. So why use it?
  4. If your beers are well-crafted, then use that in your marketing.
  5. I guarantee you that from my own data backed qualitative research the word ‘craft’ isn’t as relevant as the makers would want it or think it to be. Most consumers simply want products and goods they enjoy and can buy and share.
  6. The list of Companies in the NCB Craft Brew Pavilion wasn’t following the letter of the BA definition (which seems to be what most people go by – so is it moot to begin with?). They included: Black Tooth Brewing Company, Bootleggers Brewery, Boston Beer Company, Breckenridge Brewery, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Duval Moortgat, garage Brewing Co., Green Flash Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Company, Pear Up, Squatters Craft Beers & Wasatch Brewery, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Wild Tonic.
  • Are all of these actually brewed, first of all? Is tonic brewed?
  • What’s the technical definition of ‘brewing’?
  • Are all of these fitting to the limited definition of a craft-brewer? (no)
  • Who’s putting this list together and are they trying to get traction or simply inaccurately lumping vendors they could get signed on together?

How about a simple Beverage Pavilion for accuracy sake?

Accuracy is critical. If you’re going to do something, do it well and accurately. Seeing this list pokes holes in the idea that ‘craft’ is special. Most beer enthusiasts I know would be able to take a look at the list and tell me which companies in the line up don’t fit the aforementioned definition.

And really, who cares.

Call this area a Beverage Pavilion – by all means and for all vendors and visitors, that’d be accurate. To call it otherwise is inaccurate, a falsity that only perpetuates misinformation. Who’s to tell me – as a consumer – what is craft and what isn’t? We make our decisions on the moment we make them, with the immediate influencing factors already in place.

As a marketer it pains me to see any entity publish inaccuracies, especially in a very specific arena like this.

Marketing isn’t solely around to drive sales. Marketing is communication. And the world deserves and wants accuracy and transparency. Nothing chaps my youknowwhat more than marketers getting unjustly blamed for shenanigans others may have instigated and perpetuated. When you notice that info is wrong, speak up. Legitimate hard working marketers will appreciate the catch. At a minimum, a lively conversation will build bridges and new connections.

What’s craft? That’s up to each and everyone of us, our own definitions will work just fine. For the industry, it’s another story. Fine – use it in industry. But don’t mess with everyone else.

Well crafted products, owned by any entity and in any category, of any size volume, suits me fine.

Categories: Assumptions & Myth Busting, Beer, Education & Training, Marketing, Something To Think About
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2 Responses to “Crafting A Community”

  1. Cort Kinker

    I prefer the word “drinks” to “beverages” when is alcohol involved!

    You make a good point, Ginger, that people buy products and brands first, not necessarily companies. It seems there is an attempt to define by what they ARE vs. what is really going on is defintion by what they are NOT. Not Big Beer – the very few companies that account for the 80%+ of what is consumed as beer.

    One issue in regards to communication is that there isn’t the separation there once was between trade communciation and consumer communication – both are open and available and not always easy to differentiate between. I suspect this leads to what we are speaking of in many instances.

    great post, thanks!

    Reply
    • Ginger Johnson

      I like our idea of ‘drinks’, Cort – thanks for the suggestion.
      Big beer isn’t any different in our mouths than ‘small’ – and another area I belive we need to stop focusing on – focus rather on commitment to quality, the planet, and taking care of people. We can discuss over a drink when next we’re together.
      I understand info flows in every conceivable direction and in some ways that’s good. When companies overuse or misuse, just as when consumers do it as well, it’s diluted, bastardized and loosed authenticity and oomph.
      Whatever we do, let’s keep the discussion going. In the end, the point is to converse, discuss, and exchange ides over any beverage we choose to sip. Onward & thanks C.
      g

      Reply

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