A few days ago the Brewers Association, which represents the interests of small and independent U.S. craft breweries, announced that it is debuting a seal or shield (see the bottom image to the right) which it encourages craft breweries to proudly display.
Count Worthy in.
The timing is perfect. Worthy recently suggested to our own local guild – the Central Oregon Brewer’s Guild (COBG) – that it pursue a shield to differentiate between real craft breweries and the fake ones, i.e., the wholly or partially owned subsidiaries of foreign owned mega-conglomerates.
See the suggested "Indie Craft" shield to the right.
The good news is that the COBG has agreed that the shield is a positive step towards educating consumers and protecting the integrity of the craft culture. In our view, Bend is a unique and valuable craft brewing terroir, for many reasons, including our access to crystal clear snow melt water. Like “Bordeaux,” “Champagne,” and “Napa Valley,” Bend is tantamount to an appellation, which must be protected from imposters.
To capture the essence of our region, we've suggested a shield that features the iconic peaks of the majestic Three Sisters. The COBG is welcome to attach it's acronym.
In the near future, the COBG will move on portions of our resolution. We applaud this long over due effort. Most customers simply don’t know whether a brewery is craft or not. Who has time to do the research? The labels all look fun, irreverent and clever. There’s no ownership disclosure requirement for labeling.
How can we distinguish the craft from the crafty? The distinction is important, as the non-craft industrial breweries do not share the same values, culture, and ideals of the typically smaller, locally owned, independent craft breweries. Many once did, but they gave up their membership in the club when they joined forces with the Dark Side.
Dark Side sounds harsh. But the truth is that the industrials want to rig the game. They have superior fighting power when it comes to capital investment, marketing, distribution and lobbying. Like any mega-monopolist, their purpose is to price out, cripple and crush the competition. At the risk of sounding shrill, in many cases the industrials pose a clear and present danger to the viability of authentic craft breweries. For an excellent article on how fake craft hurts small craft, please click here.
For a review of Worthy’s proposal to the COBG, click here.
Again, Worthy praises the COBG for working together for the common good. We hope the final resolution, as well as the COBG shield, will stimulate a constructive conversation between craft brewers, our customers, the media and advertisers.
It’s a long and hard road to explain how the industrial consolidation of crafties hurts craft. The industrials are savvy. They know customers are attracted to benevolent rhetoric. In the months to come you'll be hearing from them a lot of talk about “greater efficiency,” “reduced overhead,” “more seed money for local sponsorships,” “lower prices” and so on. With the help of the media, we'll need to expose the rubbish. It won't be an easy road, but iif craft is to survive and flourish, it's a road we must travel.
When the COBG shield is ready, Worthy will be among if not the first to post it on our storefront windows, food menus, labels, packaging and advertising. Solidarity Forever!
For a list of fake Kraft, please read our blog "Fake Craft? Follow the Money."
Independent Craft, "Dark Side" Craft
Can a seal on a bottle change consumer behavior?
BY KEVIN GIFFORD
When you're buying cheese, do you purchase Tillamook cheese over Safeway's house label, or Backporch Coffee Roasters over Starbucks, strictly because you want to keep Oregon companies safe from international mega-corps?
Click here to read Kevin's article on Bend Source.