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What We Learned From 2015
No one cares if a brewery sells out.
Brewery mergers, acquisitions, partnerships and the like have officially become the norm. It seems like a deal is being announced every week, and word on the street is there are many more to come. From the pulse that we’ve been taking though, the vast majority of consumers don’t care.
Everything is craft.
The words “craft” and “crafted” are now commonly used by large corporations. From Blue Moon’s (MillerCoors) “artfully crafted” beers to Hillshire Farm’s (Tyson Foods) “American Craft” sausages to the “handcrafted” espresso at Starbucks, big business uses the terms as a ploy to suggest that their products are made by hand, in small batches, just for you. There’s no denying that by co-opting the use of the word, they’ve asserted ownership of it, absorbed the word’s selling power and have weakened its original meaning. It’s Marketing 101, and it worked. “Craft” has officially become meaningless.
Even a court couldn’t prevent the word’s slide into insignificance. Remember that guy who kicked off what became a class action lawsuit to sue MillerCoors? Basically, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s Blue Moon brand was deceiving customers by disguising its ownership, failing to meet the Brewers Association’s current definition of “craft brewer,” and pricing and positioning its products in a misleading manner in stores. Well, a judge denied these initial claims, explaining that the brand’s ownership is clearly listed on its website and that its placement among other craft brews wasn’t misleading. The judge did allow the plaintiff time to regroup, but for now, everything is legally “craft.” And again, the vast majority of consumers don’t care about this either.
Now whether or not consumers should care is a topic for another day. In the meantime, do you care? We’d love to hear your thoughts: [email protected]
Respect Beer. ■