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”.
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.