When we say “arts and crafts” it’s a semi-pejorative term used to mean everything from the crumbling Popsicle stick holiday ornaments your mom still hangs on her tree to about half the crap that people pile into My Fair City of Ann Arbor for three days in July to buy for a minimum of $100 and drag around town while they gawk at hippies.
It implies campfire songs and dusty church basements in the scorching hot summer of “Vacation Bible School” among other things. In short, it’s typically not used to describe anything carefully constructed out of love for the medium or material.
Just last night I got into a semi-annoying “argument” with some guy at an event where I was pouring my own “hand crafted” product.
“Ew, microbrew,” Mr. Charming said as he passed by on his way to slurp down a Budweiser. I just smiled and kept pouring — my line was way longer so maybe that was his issue. Then, I looked up and there he was, leaning on my “hand crafted” travel bar, glass empty.
“Why didn’t you say this was craft beer?” he demanded.
“You didn’t ask.”
To which he replied,“I don’t like microbrews.”
So I’m all, “It is a microbrew.”
“But you said craft beer just now.”
To which I sigh heavily and say, slowly, in case he’s deaf, “Yes, sir, it is a (expletive in my head) craft microbrewed product. Do you want one or not, because you are causing a serious back up of people who do.”
“Gimme one of those brown ones. Is it like a Guinness? I like Guinness.”
I tried very hard not to spit in it before handing it over.
Personally, being able to call myself a “craft brewer” gives me the right to say to anyone who is listening: The beverage you are drinking is made in small batches (in my case only 10 barrels or approximately 300 gallons at a time). Hence the “microbrew” moniker.
It’s crafted from a recipe, gets the hands-on treatment during creation (no computers set our temperatures or gauge PH levels, we do), and each batch is given the exact same high quality standard as the one before. There is not an endless supply. My own inventory woes this month can attest to that. I can’t snap my fingers and the Wolverine Beer Fairy appears with a large truck full of my product out of nowhere. Although I bet he’d be a very handsome dude, no doubt about it.
Some companies do not hand craft their beers. That does not mean by definition they are “bad.” But they are NOT CRAFT BEER — do not be fooled. My issues with them, lately, is that they create a false sense of “endless supply” to the drinking public who does not realize that this year I will bust through my first year sales goals but selling approximately 1,000 barrels of beer.
I am a flea on the back of even some of the Big Michigan Craft Brewers. And a paramecium in that flea’s eyeball to The Really Big Boys.
Here is an exhaustive, yet highly educational list of all the beers owned by The Big Boys (i.e. NOT CRAFT BREWERS) thanks to the Brookston Beer Bulletin, a blog nearly as awesome as mine. (I was very sad to see Tenants on here — but it’s hard to get in the States anyways).
Enjoy what’s left of summer.