Book club: 'Craft: An Argument', by Pete Brown

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

16 October 2020

Released in the summer, Pete Brown's latest book is entirely dedicated to one of the drinks industry's most debated terms, craft beer. Jacopo Mazzeo takes a look at its pages

What do you do if you’re stuck at home during lockdown and in self-isolation? You self-publish a book that tackles beer’s most challenging, divisive, and controversial term of the past few decades (all of this in just 13 weeks, by the way).

No, sorry to disappoint you, it’s not an attempt to define craft beer. On the contrary, in the book, Brown stresses and hails the lack of any measurable definition, perhaps the reason why an ever-increasing army of drinkers grows so passionate about it.

Although unmeasurable, the term’s inner meaning is for the author indeed rich in value, and carries a much deeper and nuanced message than any existent definition manages to pin down. And yet, by missing a tangible, unique definition, craft beer is in danger of autocannibalising.

With his characteristic witty and entertaining style, and opinionated yet analytical eye, Brown highlights that issues of quality and consistency are a threat to craft beer’s own integrity, he italicises the dangers of the recent association of ‘craft’ with the idea of being independent, and rejects the widespread idea that craft beer is only made by new breweries and has to come in funky, juvenile packaging.

With Craft: An Argument, not only does Brown reaffirm himself as one of the greatest beer writers of our time, he offers beer professionals and enthusiasts the most insightful statement of meaning for the ‘completely undefinable, hopelessly misunderstood and absolutely essential’ craft beer.

RRP £6.99-£9.99 (ebook-print), Storm Lantern Publications, petebrown.net

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