News "Craft or crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth"

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Dec 13, 2012.

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  1. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,229) Mar 18, 2010 California

    How can the label for the Sixpoint beer not mention it's brewed in a different state?
    Chaz likes this.
  2. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Because TTB allows you to use either the location of the brewery, or a single location (forget how exactly its worded). I think the reason is to avoid the expense of having to make multiple labels for the same beer bottled at multiple locations.
  3. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    the current Federal regulation is:

    ...and Sixpoint's contract brewing arrangement with The Lion is legally an "Alternating Proprietorship". Apparently the TTB does not think the label is "false or misleading" - although that opinion is not shared by many beer drinkers if a number of threads on the topic are any indication.
    rlcoffey and Chaz like this.
  4. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Thanks for making my post 4 minutes earlier completely worthless by actually looking up the law. :sunglasses:
  5. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Sorry, your post wasn't up yet when I started it...but midway through I stopped and cracked open a beer, so that slowed me down some. :wink: Since I'd dug out my old J. W. Lee glass to answer a post earlier today, the glass was still sitting on the kitchen counter and looked so sad, all empty and all. So what else could I do? I pulled a Harvey's Christmas Ale Vintage 2000 out of the beer fridge...
    frazbri, kingofhop and Chaz like this.
  6. efisch

    efisch Initiate (137) Jan 30, 2006 California

    This is such a dumb idea:

    Keep the government out of beer. The President and the COO of the Brewers Association should just offer a trademarked logo when you join! When your brewery becomes a member of the organization you can put the logo on your bottle and people can easily tell it's a "Craft Beer". No need for yet another Gov agency. Keep the independent minded beer community independent! DIY!
  7. DrLasers

    DrLasers Initiate (160) Apr 18, 2011 California

    In my experience the more you try to get people to change, the more they stay the same. Today more than ever. Any type of rally against the Macros will only make their following resent these "faggy" beers we like even more than they already do.

    But on the bright side, the effect of large scale distribution of Macros introducing "Craft Style" beers to the masses does more for Micros than they might think. When the average consumer sees a 12 pack of Blue Moon next to their "Ol' Faithful" every time they go to the grocery store that's more exposure to a different type of beer. And if they try it, and like it, that's one more step towards them trying something else new. People want to discover stuff on their own.

    12 months later they will have a curley mustache, rimmed glasses, and a fitted flannel.
  8. dmeadows

    dmeadows Initiate (0) Aug 6, 2002 New York

    Just one of the truths that we consumers deserve to know, right along with ABV and expiration dates.
  9. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,272) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    has there been a brewers association representative that has ever replied to your points regarding inconsistencies in their categorization? either in private or here on the forums?
  10. savagewhisky

    savagewhisky Initiate (0) Aug 8, 2007 Virginia

    If labels are an issue, can't the craft beer makers just prominantly put on their label where they are "brewed and bottled" or BA approved (if you want to go that far) instead of trying to make an industry-wide mandate? For one thing, I think it'd be easier to start doing. Even if a couple of genuinely craft guys choose not to fall in line with the craft labeling, it'll give folks who care about supporting craft (though not enough to look up the brewery before purchasing) a short-hand way to tell which beers available are craft by the BA definition. Just a thought.
  11. Norica

    Norica Aspirant (233) Feb 2, 2006 Massachusetts

    Wait a second....are you telling me there aren't multiple breweries in Ipswich MA?
  12. knucks999

    knucks999 Initiate (0) Sep 30, 2008 Colorado

    Funny why the BA didn't try and implement this a few years ago, back when Boston was contract brewing at Miller Brewing Company.
  13. RKPStogie

    RKPStogie Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Read about the history of Schell's then comment...otherwise you look foolish.
  14. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Ah, (been waiting for an opening about this topic and realizing you're being somewhat facetious) ---

    ---but 16 years ago, the Oregon Brewers Guild and a number of other craft brewers DID try to get the Feds (back then, it was still the BATF) to change the labeling regulations concerning the listing brewing city(ies) and the use of 'dba' names on beer labels:

    and just one quote from the article - "Consumers deserve better than to be misled, and craft brewers deserve better than to be associated with companies that aren't honest about their product."

    Of course, the irony is that the quote is from the president of the now "non-craft" Redhook (part of CBA &1/3 owned by AB) and the petition itself was started by an outfit out of St. Louis called Anheuser-Busch.

    At the time Boston Beer Co. had started a subsidiary division called Oregon Beer & Ale Co., and was marketing a line of slightly cheaper (than Samuel Adams) beers called "Oregon Originals". BBC was still overwhelming contract-brewed and on the West Coast they used Heileman's Blitz-Weinhard division brewery in (of all places) Portland, OR. Back east, BBC contracted with Hudepohl-Schoenling in Cincinnati [whose brewery they would buy later in the year and would also even use to non-Oregon brew the Oregon Originals beers] and at various other times Pittsburgh (Iron City- their original contractor), Stroh, FX Matt, etc.

    In 1996, Pete's (so-called) Brewing Co. was the #2 "Craft-Brewing Co." according to the one of the predecessor organizations (the "craft" half) of today's Brewers Association, the Institute of Brewing's "Association of Brewers". Pete's was 100% contract-brewed, by that time entirely from Stroh, still the #4 brewing company in the US. Stroh was about to buy Heileman, which would put them almost even with #3 Coors in yearly barrelage- close to 20m bbl. Stroh had other strong business connections with Pete's, a Stroh official sat on Pete's board and the company owned a minority (10%) share of the "craft" brewer.

    Just about 35% of all "craft" beer came from those two craft contract-brewing company in 1995. As best as I can recall, the IBS/AoB stayed out of that particular fight (for obvious reasons) and the craft brewers eventually dropped out of the petitioning group.
    knucks999 likes this.
  15. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    Except a logo like that only really means anything if there is some kind of quality control. I mean if all you have to do to get the stamp of approval is be a Brewers Association member and meet their requirements (even if your beer is garbage) then it is totally meaningless. If they want that kind of logo to mean anything there has to be a way to make sure it doesn't go on crappy beer. I mean look at the Authentic Trappist logo. There are over 100 Trappist Monistaries worldwide, but only 8 make beer under the logo. If you are a Trappist monistary and you want to make beer, you have to meet their requirements but the beers are also monitored for quality, because otherwise it hurts the brand. The BA would have to do the same thing otherwise a logo/stamp would be just more dumb branding.
  16. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Well you guys have certainly convinced me to keep Schell's off of my personal blacklist if I were ever to get a chance to purchase some. I had already decided this for Yuengling (the most bothersome thing they ever did is pull out of my state). Is there a third regional brewery I should be buying against BA advice?
  17. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    Magic Hat makes some pretty good products. But they are owned by a foreign beer/soft drink company so think that is what put them on the black list. Honestly this whole thing seems arbitrary to the point of stupid.
  18. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Arbitrary, sure, but not that arbitrary. Would you like to try to come up with a cut and dried defintion? Honestly, the only part that seems arbitrary to me is the inclusion of Shiner and Anchor.
  19. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Uh, you know that the Feds have been involved in "beer" since the Civil War, when the first excise taxes on beer was enacted.

    Wouldn't need "another" one, since there is already a Federal agency in charge of beer and other alcoholic beverages, including labeling requirements and approvals, the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau of the Treasury Department. And to make the changes requested by the B.A. would simply mean updating the current rule noted here.
    stayclean likes this.
  20. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    What I find interesting in all this talk of parent companies and ownership is that we really are still in the first generation of the "craft-brewing revolution" and a lot of these companies that are really popular now, are still being run by their founders. What is going to happen in the next 10-15 years when those people want to retire and see some kind of a payoff for years of work. Sure some of them might be passed onto kids, and some of them might do like employee buyouts, but that won't be all of them.

    And a lot of these companies that have really made names for themselves are multi-million dollar businesses so it is not like there is a huge pool of buyers who could potentially take over. So for a lot of these guys, it will probably come down to the highest bidder, and I would bet that in a lot of cases the highest bidder will either be like an investment firm, or a huge multi-national company (maybe either a beer company like Inbev or an overall alcohol company like Diageo). I wouldn't blame any of these companies for selling to the person with the best offer, so what is going to happen when this sort of thing starts happening (since I think the Goose Island deal was just the tip of the iceberg).
  21. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Let me rephrase. Is there another regional brewer like Schell's and Yuengling that is old and traditional and produces craft beer and would likely be considered a craft brewer by the BA if it weren't for having "too much" adjunct beer in their portfolio?

    As for the "arbitrary" comment, well, that's what happens when you try to craft a specific definition that makes absolutely clear who is in and who is out. I think they've done a pretty good job, though there is always room for improvement.

    “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
    --Bill Cosby
  22. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    And there's the thread-ender! Well said.
  23. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Don't you think that deciding whether or not you actually like the beer from a brewery is better then letting someone else tell you what to drink?
    dmeadows likes this.
  24. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Well since I don't have the time or money to buy one bottle of every single beer ever made, I sometimes rely on the opinions of others when looking for new things to try. Thanks for being completely unhelpful, though.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  25. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    It's not about trying every beer you think you want (oh wait -- you're a "ticker" aren't you?), it's about enjoying the ones you find.

    The "helpful" side is the instruction to decide for yourself. At least once in your life. :rolling_eyes:
  26. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    There will also be mergers. We have seen some of that already. Magic Hat/Pyramid. Widmer/Red Hook/Kona.
  27. mschofield

    mschofield Meyvn (1,463) Oct 16, 2002 Massachusetts

    I think the third on the list was Straub

    course when I want an AAL, I go for Gansett, boo hoo they're brewed at another brewery and use adjuncts in their AAL
  28. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Well, there are only ten breweries left that date from the pre-Pro>post-Repeal era that once brewed only or predominantly AAL's (maybe eleven if you consider City the direct successor to Heileman, but they own no brands - if you see "La Crosse, WI, "Latrobe, PA" or "Memphis, TN" on a label it was brewed by City):

    On the B.A. "Blacklist" as Non-Craft
    Minhas (ex-Huber) - their own brands and lots of contracts, craft and non-craft​
    Straub - all adjuncts​
    The Lion - their own brands (inc. "craft-ish" Stegmaier) and lots of contracts, craft and non-craft​
    Yuengling (all adjunct beers)​

    Now considered "Craft" (but all brew some adjuncts)
    F. X. Matt​
    Spoetzl (Gambrinus-owned, 'Shiner' brand)​
    Stevens Point​

    Not listed, but probably not craft
    Genesee (NAB-owned) "craft-ish" Dundee line, and lots of contracts, craft and non-craft​
    Cold Spring/Third St. Brewhouse - own brands, some 'craft-ish' + lots of contracts, craft and non-craft​
    Chaz likes this.
  29. Genuine

    Genuine Devotee (463) May 7, 2009 Connecticut

    Wait, widmer too!?
  30. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Anheuser Busch bought into Widmer in 1997 (so, predating the Redhook-Widmer merger that created Craft Brews Alliance that now includes Kona, too).
  31. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Thanks jesskidden and mschofield! I have limited exposure to these -- only really see the Dundee and the F.X. Matt stuff here. Oh and the Sixpoint cans. It would be fun to decide for myself some day how bad (if at all) I feel about the exclusion of Schell, Minhas, Straub, and the Lion from the BA "craft brewers" list if the accident would happen.
  32. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Not any on the list that I'd avoid because the BA might label it non-craft. Although, a few I'd avoid because I know the beer is not all that good. Schell, Spoetzl, and Point are all making some terrific beers worth drinking.

    Funny thing about Minhas is their contract brewing -- for some "breweries" that are supported by members of the BA, such as 5 Rabbit.
  33. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,272) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    is there any forum member here who is actually a representative or employee of the brewer's association?
  34. uptomonto

    uptomonto Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2012 Indiana

    Did myself a favor and checked the big two's websites, wrote down all the labels they own/produce, keep the list handy when I choose what I am going to spend my dollars on. Just to be sure I know where my money is going, and ultimately what type of product/philosophy I am going to support. My friends think I'm crazy, but don't hesitate to refer to my lists!
  35. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2012 Oregon

    Just a thought, and maybe you guys have already discussed this, but what about developing a certified graphic that these independent companies could use on their labels? Be so transparent to the public so that their(big conglomerates) non transparency in effect hurts them anyway.
  36. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2012 Oregon

    What about brewers like Dann Paquette from Pretty Things, he's technically a 'contract brewer' (he calls himself a 'tenant brewer'...and rightfully so) but he's the one actually making his beer, despite not owning the equipment or space and having a 'contract' to use the facility he's still the brewmaster of whatever ends up in his bottles. I'm sure there are plenty examples out there of smaller companies that have obscure deals that allow them to get their beer made, which without some kind of shared interest it would otherwise be dead in the water. Wouldn't it just be more transparent and appropriate to just list the brewmaster.
  37. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,317) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    SamC from DFH is the chair of the B.A. directors. How is that for one!
  38. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,272) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    ah, right. here's a quote from sam's contribution to this thread ( :
    i guess this an interesting distinction. so can a non-craft brewer (BA definition) like yuengling or schell therefore still brew a "craft beer"?
  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    As I noted in the other thread on this topic, the Brewers Association's website used to state"...a craft beer can only be made by a craft brewer..." but that statement has since been deleted. Despite the euphemisms (like tenant) and various different legal arrangements (Alternating Proprietorship, etc) used by contractee brewers because of the negative connotation attached to "contract brewer", I suppose the statement could have struck some of them as being able to be applied to their situation. Remember, when the BAA and AoB merged to form the current B.A. in 2005, much of the production of the Samuel Adams brands was coming out of the decidedly non-craft Miller brewery in Eden, NC.

    The reverse situation, a "craft beer" made by a small brewer disqualified because of one or more of the B.A.'s 3 point definition, isn't the concern of the organization (why promote a beer not made by one of it's members?). Certainly the "faux" crafts made by AB or MC are never going to be called "craft" by the B.A.

    But, it should also be noted that while Jace Marti specifically mentioned Yuengling's place on the B.A. Blacklist pdf, and the two brewers might share factors like long family-owned histories and adjunct flagships, their relationship with the Brewers Association is, in some ways, the opposite. Schell was a long-time member of the old "small brewers" organization, the Brewers Association of America (Warren Marti was on the board in the 70's, along with folks like Joe Ortlieb, Fred Huber, Wm Leinenkugel and Fritz Maytag). It sounds, from Jace Marti's letter, that they left after the merger, specifically over the convoluted "craft" definition.

    Yuengling, OTOH, was not in the old BAA but did join the craft-oriented B.A., but only last year- so, well aware of the "craft" definition and various controversies. Some early articles about Yuengling's entry even addressed the fact that they were not going to be listed as "craft". (Interestingly, "Non-craft" brewers can belong to the B.A., all the individual AB and MC breweries pay maximum dues, as do the CBA breweries, both Leinenkugel plants, etc. Sort of the reverse of Grocho Marx's “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”)

    So, Yuengling's sizable barrelage - nearing 3m (so, alone over 20% the size of all "Craft") - is not counted in the annual BA Press Release. Unfortunately, last I looked I can no longer find any of the references to Yuengling's refusal/denial of the "craft" designation (compounded by the unavailability of the old forums).

    Also, even if one were to accept the B.A.'s definition of "Traditional", Schell brews numerous beers that fit that "no corn/rice = traditional". Yuengling does not brew any, using corn grits in all it's beers. Obviously, if Gambrinus' Spoetzl's flagship Shiner Bock can get the "corn used to enhance, not lighten" ruling, Yuengling probably could have, too.
  40. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    You should do that for Germany too. It'll rule out a LOT of the stuff you're getting offered as high priced import beer.
    uptomonto and Chaz like this.
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