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Streiflicht – Thoughts about the „Purity law“ and „Craft“

Frankly speaking if someone asks me about the meaning of „craft“ brewing I am willing to say that I do not want to talk about that subject any more because I am fully fed up with that.

Simply the fact that more and more people in Germany are asking that question makes me feel sick and emotionally disturbed - especially taking into account the quality of the German brewery landscape - paradise on earth.

The main issue here is the difficulty to explain a phenomenon which nobody understands not knowing the environment where it came from by simply trying to understand the term craft as an english wording which should be self-explanatory if translated into another language.

I we literally look at the term craft we will find the meaning produced with your own hands with a specific expertise with an artistic touch to some extent.

The good thing here is that our German breweries are doing exactly this since centuries! The basis for that is the specific educational system which allows you to study brewing starting with a guided apprenticeship in a brewery and finishing with a PhD in brewing from a traditional German university all focusing on a solid and scientific educational content. This safeguards the quality of an undoubtably emotional German cultural aspect and guarantees a steady highly professional development into new products.

You may call the „Purity Law“ the backbone of this quality system which it really is in the eyes of most brewers. Unfortunately this emotion is not really fed by discussing the topic „craft“ from an angle which leverages the quality of „craft“ beer beyond the quality perception of the „Purity Law“ from a consumer´s perspective.

We should all ask the question for the reason of this perceived value shift amongst consumers and which options we do have to learn from the success of the American „craft“ beer scene. We should then come to the right conclusion without being second choice by copying a trend into a potentially wrong direction.

Anyway I would like to say that „craft“ to me looks like a cheap copy of real German „Handwerk“.

Your Dr. Fritz Briem