The True Battle for Craft Beer Could Be Wine and Spirits, Not Big Beer

Recently, the Brewers Association released a new seal to help identify independently crafted brews. You can read about it here. After hearing this news, many people (including us) were excited. Supporting small business, in our opinion, is great. Some craft brewers, however, don’t completely agree with the idea labelling independent beer.

The true battle for craft beer, they say, is wine and spirits, not big beer. Check it out.

The above video takes six viewpoints from craft brewers. First up is David Buhler from Elysian. Buhler sees some design issues with adding the logo onto his packaging. Other than the artistic aspect of the packaging, he brought to the table the question of whether this logo designates quality. Inherently, it cannot truly represent quality.

What the consumer sees, though, could be different. The consumer could, eventually, see the seal as a sign of quality. Andy Ingram of Four Peaks wants the Brewers Association to focus on quality, not independence. What’s in your glass matters, and Ingram is afraid that people will neglect to recognize this as long as they’re drinking an independently made brew.

Garret Wales of 10 Barrel feels that the beer should do the talking, too. He says the seal doesn’t mean a darn thing.  In addition to a sharing a desire to shift focus toward quality, most of these brewers fear in-fighting.

The ever-vigilant eye of the brewer, well-represented by Lem. Good form, buddy. #Brewer #WickedWeed #Brewpub #Asheville #AVLBeer

A post shared by Wicked Weed Brewing (@wickedweedbrewing) on

Walt Dickinson of Wicked Weed cites this “civil war,” if you will, among beer. He views the civil war as weakening beer against a greater foe, wine and spirits. (The metaphor continues, as Dickinson refers to wine and spirits as an “armada of boats coming across the Atlantic to crush [beer]. And [beer companies are] shooting each other with muskets and slingshots.”)

The impact that small businesses have on communities is indeed recognized in this video. Felipe Szpigel of The High End sees the community impact as the best part of independence. In-fighting and quality aside, an independent brewery’s pride should be in what it can do for those around it.

Steve Crandall of Devils Backbone says that nothing will change. They’re gonna keep on keeping on, if you will. The beer will continue being good, and community events will continue happening as they were. The video ends with David Buhler saying that the real “punk” way to approach the seal is not to use it.

We’re torn. We think it’s a great way to separate the Goose Islands from the Mountain Toad Brewings. We also, though, see the craft beer vs. big beer civil war as being detrimental. That armada of rosé and potato vodka is coming, and we just want to make sure we can keep drinking good brew.