Beerista: can we trust the words ‘craft beer’ anymore?

The word has become so overused it’s losing its meaning

Microbrewed in Ireland is a logo created by Beer Ireland  “to help drinkers identify beers that are brewed by microbreweries in Ireland and aren’t a macro produced imitation”.

Microbrewed in Ireland is a logo created by Beer Ireland “to help drinkers identify beers that are brewed by microbreweries in Ireland and aren’t a macro produced imitation”.

 

What does “craft” mean? It used to distinguish something as higher quality, or made with a particular skill. But then everyone starting using it, slapping the word “craft” on anything from coffee to dry cleaning and now, like “gourmet” and “artisan”, it has lost its value.

When it comes to craft beer, the phrase started out as (loosely) meaning made by smaller, independent breweries and more alternative styles. But this has changed. First, the variety of craft beer has vastly expanded and you can now get simple craft lagers, offbeat porters and everything in between.

Second, the macro breweries have confused matters by producing their own “craft” beers such as HopHouse 13 by Guinness or Heineken’s Cute Hoor. Then there are smaller breweries, such as Lagunitas, which is part-owned by Heineken, or Franciscan Well in Cork, which was bought by Molson Coors.

You’ll find the “Microbrewed in Ireland” logo on some of the beers made by Beer Ireland members, which was created “to help drinkers identify beers that are brewed by microbreweries in Ireland and aren’t a macro produced imitation”.

A microbrewery, according to Revenue, produces less than 30,000 hectalitres, though this varies from country to country, just to make it all a bit more complicated.

As the craft beer world continues its rapid growth, and some of the original craft breweries expand and push the boundaries of what microbrewing means – the debate about what exactly defines craft beer will rumble on and on. But one thing is certain: a quality beer made locally and with real care and dedication, always tastes just that little bit better.

– Dot Brew is one of the newest on the Irish craft beer scene and its Session Rye Ale is particularly good. It has a spicy and slightly nutty characteristic, is very drinkable at 4%, and comes in a slick bottle design.
 

@ITbeerista
beerista@irishtimes.com

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.