The craft beer revolution.
What is it, what does it mean for consumers and where to drink it?
The term craft beer seems to be popping up everywhere, but does anyone really know what it means?
After a little research, it turns out that craft beer in Australia actually has no definitive meaning and is in fact to be open to interpretation. It seems craft beer focuses on product quality rather than mass production. Beers are brewed by individuals not machines at small flavour driven breweries and brewers are known by name. I suppose similar to the eat local philosophy, there is something beautiful about knowing exactly where your crisp golden glass of goodness comes from and who is responsible for that refreshing taste you love so much.
In Australia small breweries were very common in the 19th century, however by the 1930′s most of them had closed and beer production had become centralised to a small number of very large breweries. By the 1980’s nearly all Australians understood that beer production in large breweries was normal practice. What’s really cool is, in the three decades since the 1980’s nearly three hundred new breweries have opened in Australia and many of them, perhaps most, produce or have produced what many consumers now consider ‘craft’ beer.
Some controversy over the term has grown recently as a result of larger breweries seeking to enter the ‘craft’ beer market using the term to promote their sub brands and reach a new audience, with many key players in the ‘craft’ beer industry being owned by industry giants including Lion, coincidentally they do not promote or advertise this to their consumers.
To get a little more clarity, we hit up a few big and small breweries to get their take on the craft beer revolution;
Alex Troncosso – Little Creatures
“Craft brewing to me is really a state of mind; there are small breweries making great beer, and big breweries making great beer. Think about some of the US examples – Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Samuel Adams – they have quite large breweries now, but they are passionate and producing excellent products. Another extreme example – think of inland Becks brewed for the German market: fantastic beer, great bitterness and it comes out of a massive brewery.”
Cam Hines – Mountain Goat Brewery
“Essentially I think, craft beer is a beer that usually smaller breweries choose to brew for flavour related to their local beer drinkers with their own unique flavours. Craft beer is brewed for unique flavour rather than mass appeal. A good craft beer stands out with more unique flavour strengths where a good commercial mainstream beer stands out from unique marketing.”
Viren – Stone & Wood
“The term ‘craft beer’ is an overused/bastardised piece of language, mainly used by PR machines. Some much better descriptions would be “good beer” or “independent beer”. Good beer is made by breweries using the best available ingredients (water, malt, hops and yeast) to make the most flavourful and highest quality beer possible. Independent beer signifies those who are independently owned, not a very small part of a much larger brewery (or other business).”
Call it what you like Craft, Boutique, Independent, Good, Exceptional, there is no denying the joy of a crispy cold one after a hard day’s work, post sunset surf, or to wash down a delicious feast.
Here at Balcony we believe in supporting local and looking after our good friends at Stone & Wood. We only offer Stone & Wood beers on tap and every day between 4pm – 6pm you can get your fix for just 6 bucks a pop and if beers not your thing, there’s plenty more on offer. CHEERS!
image cred: Stone & Wood