“Health is a relative term that means different things to different people – kind of like the term craft beer, right?” – Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program Director, Brewers Association

Words. They’re seemingly loaded with meaning and thrown around with no weight simultaneously. How do you handle words?

Exhibit A: Natural.

In the 1970’s in America, the word came on like a tidal wave. It was all the sudden on packaged goods and signs everywhere. Natural This and Natural That. What’s a consumer to do?! In a huge rush the shopping of food became a miasma of words, which at first felt meaningful.

Is a manufactured (intentionally planted) landscape natural? Is it crafted?

Is a manufactured (intentionally planted) landscape natural? Is it crafted?

Then, with everyone getting on the Natural boat, it began to get muddy. Muddy understandings, definitions, and meanings. What did Natural mean by 1980? Who was still using it and to what end? Here’s a thoughtful article on the term.

Exhibit B: Craft.

It’s the current counterpart to Natural. What does Craft mean?

Like natural and all labels and titles, definitions are somewhat elastic. They may be ‘defined’ by some organizational body or person, yet who gives them the authority to define a word that can mean different things to all different folks? And who’s to say we have to abide by them or adopt them as our own?

Craft is a buzz word in the alcohol beverage industry right now, and especially in the beer world. It’s a word I’ve used, questioned, and not used (in that order) since I got into the beer world professionally.

What’s in a word is up to the brain holder – you and I, our neighbors, colleagues, family friends and enemies. Who’s to say what a word can and cannot mean, as well as the sticky middle of “ya, but’s”….

To come up with my own definition of craft I look all around me, both at home and abroad. To me, well crafted is going to be more important than any otherwise-defined delineation of any word. It’s my word to use as I wish and I wish the meaning to be non-exclusive, though not necessarily inclusive. See my quandary? It’s neither here nor there, and it’s certainly not in between.

I’d encourage you to rethink your words and terminology. I’d suggest you focus on brands and what they are about, what they mean to you, and how they relate to your world. I’d recommend not using the craft word. From our research I can tell you that most women don’t have a universal singular definition of “craft” as it relates to beer. Size has little to do with quality (pun intended here).

Knowing that what is in your glass is well crafted with care is my go-to. What’s yours?

Categories: Assumptions & Myth Busting, Beer, Marketing, Something To Think About
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