"We Are Craft Brewers"
The Brewers Association announced this morning that it was adding grodziskie and adambier to the ever-expanding list of official styles. (More on that soon.) I happened to be looking through my notes on an interview with New Belgium's Peter Bouckaert this morning, too, and I found a nice resonance between a comment he made and that news.
Obscure styles may have some commercial prospects, but probably not. Yet brewers make them anyway. When I spoke to Bouckaert, I asked him why New Belgium spends so much money on the foeder program, a project that--in an era when another brewery may be plausibly watering down their light lagers--can't be a huge profit center. Here's what he said.
“One of the meanings of ‘La Folie’ is that it’s a business endeavor you’re sure to lose money on so we thought that was a great name for it. Why would you overly dry-hop a beer? Why would you do something stupid like that? Why would you make something that is the highest alcohol beer? We are craft brewers. That’s what we do. We are creating different flavors; we are reviving older beers that used to exist and faded away. Maybe there were financial reasons they faded away and that’s a good reason for us not to do it.”The phrase "craft brewery" has become nearly meaningless in modern usage, but I would agree with Peter that projects like New Belgium's qualify as actual "craft." That's why you'd brew an adambier or grodziskie, too.