(Boston, MA) – On Thursday, BeerPulse polled the readership to see whether you consider The Boston Beer Company a “craft” brewery, however you define it.
The poll results, after 600+ votes, break out as follows:
- 52% consider Boston Beer Co. to be “craft”
- 40% don’t consider Boston Beer Co. to be “craft”
- 8% don’t care or are indifferent
BeerPulse asked the same question exactly 17 months ago and the results didn’t differ all that much:
- 51% consider Boston Beer Co. to be “craft”
- 32% don’t consider Boston Beer Co. to be “craft”
- 17% don’t care or are indifferent
There was a 75% increase in participation in the new poll.
We can draw, at the very least, two conclusions from this data (which admittedly speaks more to the opinion of the “craft beer core” than an overall casual beer drinking audience).
One: core beer drinkers think it is important to draw a distinction between “craft” and “non-craft,” which should come as music to the ears for The Brewers Association and ‘small, independent and traditional’ breweries everywhere. The time and energy spent behind this messaging seems to be working.
Two: core beer drinkers each define their own definition for “craft” that may not agree with that messaging. This is the pitfall of the ‘small, independent and traditional’ messaging in the first place. How The Brewers Association defines “small” and how you define “small” may be two very different things (size being the most commonly discussed case of divergence). For example, recall the pieces written by Jim Koch and Sam Calagione about some fans regarding them not being as cool anymore because they are getting “too big.”
What about companies that contract out all of their beer production? Or mainly contract brew for other companies? Or produce a large amount of non-traditional malt beverages? Or have large marketing budgets? Etc. etc. Each of these may or may not matter to you at all depending on how you define your own “craft” values.
As these companies continue to transform and drinkers continue to increasingly define “craft” for themselves, one could question whether the term may prove more harmful than good in the long run for some of them (at least in the eyes of core “craft” beer drinkers).