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Are Craft Spirits or Beer Really 'Craft'?

Artisan cognac productionAccording to Craft Spirits and Beer, ‘Craft’ is a term used to describe spirits and beers that are handmade in smaller batches, with superior ingredients by people who are passionate about quality. But as these products grow in popularity, is it possible for them to stay true to their roots?

Here in the UK the big supermarkets have all upped their range of ‘Craft’ beers.  This has led to accusations that the breweries are selling out the independent shops that nurtured them. Market forces are clearly the cause.  However, one must question whether these ‘Craft’ beers can still be produced in ‘smaller batches’ when trying to meet demand from the multiples.

Similarly, the increasing demand for ‘Craft’ gin has affected its production. It has become an open secret that many companies buy in their base liquid from big, third-party distillers.  Gin can then be produced more cheaply or in greater quantities. This may make economic sense but it is not the image that ‘Craft’ gin conjures up. Vintage cognac, on the other hand, will always be ‘Craft’. It is created in small quantities by passionate experts, cannot be hurried and the quantities cannot be upped at will.