Monday, January 9, 2012

A Fighting Stance and Higher Motives.

I was hunting for something totally unrelated when I stumbled on this:

There will thus be present brewers producing beers, the majority of which, if not all, have well-defined characteristics. The aim is to support and defend those who have made the decision to turn their back on easy commercial gain but rather have adopted a fighting stance against beers with little flavour. They are thus brewers who wander off the well-trodden path. They work in breweries on a human, rather than an industrial scale, using traditional and natural methods, and are guided by higher motives than an unbridled pursuit of profit. They are small in size, but their contribution to our brewing heritage is enormous: they are the ultimate guarantors of the preservation of centuries old tradition and produce beers with a genuine diversity of flavours.
All the emphasis is mine. Those words are from the 2007 program for the Bruxellensis festival, explaining how the organizers chose which brewers to invite. I submit it as yet another exhibit in the ongoing conversation about just what exactly constitutes "craft." Yes, we get tired of that conversation at times, but it will continue with or without us. So let's keep it on point.

A few weeks ago, I asked Jean Van Roy of Cantillon what "craft" or "artisanal" means to him. To paraphrase, because I didn't scribble that particular quote and I don't have the time to go through my recordings just now, he said it means putting the product over the profit.

It's not a useful definition for tax authorities or industry groups that must decide whom to include and exclude. Luckily, I am neither of those things.

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