15 March 2017

Craft Raw Materials for Craft Beer?

The word “craft” conjures up a plethora of friendly images. We think of craft products as artisanal, creative, hand-made from local materials, and of higher quality than their mass-produced “industrial” corollaries. They also cost a bit more. For example, artisanal cheeses made from milk produced by free-roaming, grass-fed cows, goats or sheep are considered more flavorful and delicious than their national-brand equivalents and thus worth their price. Craft beer, too, has a similar standing. After all, it came into being as an antidote to the uniform, flavorless industrial lagers that still dominate practically every beer market in the world. With craft beer, however, there is a paradox: Small and independent breweries – to use the “craft” definition of the Brewers Association – have built the reputation of their beers on malts and hops that are made not by craftsmen but by large, often global corporations.

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