Para leer en español, haz clic aquí. At Cerveceria Dos Aves, we are proud of being the first craft brewery of San Miguel de Allende. Producing high quality distinctive ales, we consider ourselves fortunate to be brewing beer here in Mexico at the leading edge of what will certainly be considered the beginning of the Craft beer movement. But what is “Craft” beer, and what is the importance of defining it? We've thought long and hard about this question, and although we don't claim this answer represents the industry as a whole, it does define the feelings we have about being a Craft brewery.
We recognize the term “Craft beer” as an outlet for creative expression, as a way to represent oneself through the medium of beer. It entails spontaneity backed up with brewing knowledge, history and the skills needed to produce great beer. This includes a high regard for previous brewers that have been instrumental in discovering beers that have stood the test of time. It means brewing beer that validates the best of the human condition, holding a vision of a better world because of the beer we contribute. It also means earning a decent living, not as the driving force, but as the direct result of these qualities.
Naturally, the qualities we have mentioned above can be applied to the Mega-beer-industrial-complex, and we often enjoy beers brewed by these giants of the industry. And so, another factor needs to be included in this thesis in order to clarify why the “big breweries”, or “Macro-Breweries” do not fit our description of Craft.
Simply put, defining beer as Craft allows the consumer the opportunity to make a choice when they purchase beer. This may be the choice to contribute to the local economy, to keep a small brewery in business or to make a personal statement. The point is that the label “Craft” empowers the consumer to make educated choices regarding his or her lifestyle.
It may prove valuable in narrowing the definition of what Craft beer is by declaring what Craft is not. For instance, most people don't realize that AB/InBev owns Budweiser, which owns Goose Island and Ballast Point in the United States and Tijuana Brewing Company and Cervecería Mexicana in Mexico, to name a few. AB/InBev also owns Coors, which owns Blue Moon, another US brewery. Ballast Point, Goose Island, Blue Moon and TJ Brewing are good beers in their own right, but the problem comes when the consumer, who wants to support the local economy, or an independent brewery, is tricked into believing that that is what they are doing when clearly they are not. In the industry this is referred to as “Crafty”.
“Crafty” can also apply to the business enterprise who's impetus is to invest in a market simply to capitalize on the trend with little regard to the beer or the creativity that goes into it, again tricking the consumer with the pretension of “craft” as a ploy to solicit sales. Do all consumers shop with this regard? Of course not, but we suggest that consumers prefer the option of knowing.
Craft is not about co-opting the local environment with the intention of manipulating the public. It is not about utilizing vast financial resources in order to flood the market with product and brand identity. It is not about strategically brewing beer that the brewery believes the public needs in order for them to transcend the status quo or by vying with the conglomerates by producing cheap beer because that is what the brewery believes people expect.
We recognize “Craft” to mean passionately brewing high quality beer. That high quality beer, in turn, is validated by the purchases made by informed consumers. We urge you to be an informed consumer. Don’t let yourself be fooled!