I’ve heard this debate a bit recently but it really came to a head for me a few days ago when I was in my local craft beer purveyor…
As I do, I like to hang about at the shop and chat to the staff about what’s going on, what is coming up release wise and generally what has been going on in the Yarra Valley. I noticed a gentleman come in, have a browse at the shelves and then make a bee- line for the fridge. From the fridge he produced a six pack of Mountain Goat Summer Ale and a four pack of Fancy Pants. As he came up to the counter he started talking to one of the shop assistants about what he drinks and said something that rather shocked me: “I can’t afford craft beer this week so I’m just getting some Mountain Goat.”
This shocked me for a few reasons but mainly that I consider Mountain Goat to be craft beer, and great craft beer at that. For it to be considered an ‘inferior’ product is sacrilege to me, Mountain Goat sits amongst the great Australian craft brewers at the moment and are producing some amazing brews that just keep getting better and more interesting.
The question I keep thinking about is this: Is the quality trajectory of craft beer going to become unrealistic? Is it already? Are consumers beginning to expect too much from their local craft brewer and wanting more out there and nebulous brews or is this beer snobbery? I’ve had some pretty funky beers in my time but have never thought for a second that Mountain Goat is a beer not worth my time, they have brewed just as many different, funky brews.
This raises another issue for me: Will craft beer as we know it be no longer recognisable in the future? It is either that or this will be the point at which craft beer plateaus and we have hit a saturation point where we can’t go anywhere else.
These points are still a long way off from coming to this level but it is something to think about.