It's been called 'craft' beer; it's been called microbrew; it's been called boutique beer.
The first term is nebulous and inherently self-referencing. The second is ugly, sounding like a nefarious chemistry experiment. The last is unfortunate.
I prefer local, or fresh, or fuller-flavored.
Nearly 80% of the American beer market is comprised of light lagers, which, although brewed here in the US, are produced by companies that are foreign-owned. The 'craft' breweries, on the other hand, are American-owned and operated. They were locavore before that neologism was coined.
Be that as it may, 'craft' beer commands scant respect in the mainstream media. When alcoholic beverages are discussed, it's wine —and sometimes spirits— that grab the column space. And when an occasional and infrequent story on 'craft' beer does appear, its tone is often condescending: suds, brewski, etc.
Thus, it was an ''aha!' moment, when I read the following comment to a story on a local restaurant published on-line by the Washington (D.C.) City Paper:
On a slight tangent, I wish Citypaper would pay more attention to the DC’s wine scene, and a little less to beer-centric topics. Between articles like this, and Beerspotter, you guys have a decided bias toward suds. But y’know, some of us like vino better, eh?
Now, I like wine (in fact, I sell wine for a living), so I should just say "Can't we all just get along," and end it there, but the moment is simply too precious.
So, to the paper: keep up the good work. To the complainer: relax, don't worry, and grab a Gruner Veltliner ... or why not a fresh cask-conditioned bitter?
By the way, it's beer not suds ... that's soap.
- There are exceptions to the mainstream media blackout —Bob Townsend in the the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Eric Asimov in the New York Times, Greg Kitsock in the Washington Post, Rob Kasper in the Baltimore Sun, to name a few— but the point remains valid. Their bandwidth is limited compared to that provided to grape juice, er, wine.
- The craft brewing sales share as of December '08 was 4% by volume and 6.3% by dollars (per the Brewers Association). The remaining difference between that and the 80% share of the beer conglomerates is comprised of imported beer, etc.