Friday 7 September 2012

We must honour and hold true to each other

"We must honour and hold true to each other" I Am A Craft Brewer 3:22

In 2008 Stone brewery's 'I Am A Craft Brewer' video summed up the unity and collaborative spirit of the craft beer industy in the US.

I've been working in the UK brewing scene for long enough now to realise that us micro, small and even regional brewers in general more than get along. We realise our market doesn't work the same as others where say market presence, brand image, customer loyalty and efficient production methods are the tools to achive market domination against rival companies (look at Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Ford, Kellogs etc). I';ve realised from experience that Greg Koch's message of unity within the craft beer sector doesn't always run 100% true (I'd call it 99%). Other brewers on one hand are (usually) our friends and each one works in a kind of symbiosis with the other. But on the other hand they are also market competitors.

Whether or not you see other brewers as friends or more as competitiors the unwritten constant between us is normally mutual respect. But when you hear of something like this happening to a local micro like Brew Star (now Anarchy Brew Co) you suddenly realise that not everyone in the industry sees things the way you do.

OK, so as a quick parody let's say us folk at Mordue discovered a brewery in a distant county called Cordue. Would we then feel our identity was being threatened adn be inclined to sue the balls off them? Perhaps Cordue was devised as a deliberate copycat company with copycat brands? Or perhaps it was the name of the head brewer's much loved pet hamster? Is it really a big enough deal to make a fuss over?


Anonymous said...

Given that said company is also a small brewer, it isn't quite the david vs goliath that Anarchy have painted it out to be. It would be nice if this sort of thing could be sorted out without lawyers getting involved, but there was clear potential for confusion between the names. Why Anarchy had to paint themselves as the poor underdog being trampled over by the evil mega corporation that is Brewster I do not know. It has done them no favours in my eyes.

Rob said...

The fact that Brewster is so small is the shocking bit. The problem stems from the fact that the UK has a rapidly growing number of breweries and it seems inevitable that at some point two or more will spring up with similar names.

Gareth said...

The David and Goliath thing didn't ring true for me either. Given their relative sizes, it came across as bitterness; but of course that's just my reading of the Brew Star article.

That said, I hope they can move on with their new (and better) name, I'm sure they'll realise it's for the best in the end - the confusion would have worked both ways.