The End of ‘Craft’ Spirits
The word ‘craft’ has become far too ubiquitous and water-downed. Coming up with another clever phrase or definition will not work either as we will end up in the same debate several months afterward.
While walking through O’Hare Airport last week, I snapped this picture and thought it was time to write this article. To me, the word ‘craft’ has become far too ubiquitous and water-downed.
When developing a new spirits packaging design or copy for a liquor distributor sell sheet, we often debate which, and how many, adjectives we should use and how to place and phrase them. You know all of the classics: craft, artisan, small batch, hand-crafted, boutique, limited edition, and my favorite, ‘bespoke,’ (that’s for our U.K. clients). The problem is that while there is sometimes a technical definition, rarely is this either agreed upon by the trade, or more importantly, understood by the consumer. What may be even more detrimental is that use of such descriptors does not guarantee quality. (We have all had plenty of foul tasting ‘artisan’ spirits.)
Coming up with another clever phrase or definition will not work either as we will end up in the same debate several months afterward. The answer, while simple, is also expensive and time-consuming. Spirit brands cannot be bound together under a descriptor or catch-phrase dictated by some made up rules of production limitations or output. Instead, each brand must live under its individual brand name and all of the attributes and caveats that define it. The expense is required for educating the public about your brand, which above all else, requires transparency and honesty. Otherwise, the standards and methodology of how you produce your estate, heirloom and vintage potato vodka one batch at a time, gets lumped in with the same company that craftily orders railcars of GNS.