What is Craft Check?
It’s an app. For your phone. Or I guess for your tablet if you’re the kind of person that uses a tablet to do things other people do with their phones.
It lets you know whether the beer you’re looking at is from an authentic craft brewery or just a mass-market imitation craft beer - either by scanning the barcode or by searching the brewery name.
Who made Craft Check?
Barrett was the one standing in the middle of BevMo wondering which of the beers he was looking at were fake craft breweries and which were real. He was also the one who put together the database and keeps it updated, so feel free to yell at him if he got something wrong.
Rudy said “we can solve that problem,” and handled the “listening to Barrett ramble on about bad ways to build it before suggesting we build it in a much better fashion” part, as well as the actual development.
The inimitable Kristin Myers Harvey handled our design and created our logo (and gratefully didn't yell at us for messing up her beautiful designs and layout a bit in this first release.)
What’s “craft brewery” mean?
The Brewers Association has their official definition here, but the gist of it is that if the brewery is owned by a company that sponsors a stadium, intentionally misspells the word “light” or is the “official beer” of anything other than your evening, it’s probably not a craft brewery. Basically, smaller breweries more focused on brewing good beer than on corporate beverage domination.
Why do you only verify American breweries as craft breweries?
The truth is that in most of the rest of the world there isn’t an actual definition for craft brewery - it’s a completely subjective term. Some countries like Canada have several competing definitions (see this 2011 post from The Year of Beer) and most of UK and Europe doesn’t have any prevailing definition at all, as outlined in this post from the excellent BrewDog. So until there’s a larger consensus we feel kind of obligated to stick with what’s agreed-upon.
It’s a problem worth solving and something we’re taking seriously though. We’re looking into different ways to give our completely subjective thumbs-up to some breweries that we’d consider honorary craft breweries in our own eyes, but that don’t meet the existing definition because they’re not American breweries. So keep your eyes peeled for some ideas in the near future, we’re hoping to roll it out soon. Until then though, we’re sticking to providing information we know to be accurate: breweries that officially meet the Brewers Association’s definition of “Craft Brewery.”
Aren’t there enough craft beer apps?
There are a lot of craft beer apps but none that specifically did what we wanted, which was let you pick up a beer, scan it, and immediately know whether or not you were holding a beer from a craft brewery. If you want to know what your friends are drinking, get ratings and opinions, or find out what breweries are nearby, there are better apps for that. If you want a simple yes or no (or the occasional maybe, in hopefully decreasingly common occurrences) then we’ve got you covered.
You screwed up/
Why isn’t my favorite brewery listed/
This is madness, I tell you, madness!
Well…probably, yeah. We had to put together all the information by hand (if it was already easily available, we wouldn’t have had to make Craft Check in the first place!) so mistakes do happen. We’re a very imperfect three-person crew, and Barrett’s typing is occasionally so bad he once misspelled “fantastic” by starting it with a Q. With that said though, we’re committing to ongoing updates to both fix mistakes and reflect changes in the marketplace. So if you find any mistakes, let us know and we’ll fix it.
Send us your Sales Sheet or Product List! We'll need basic information and UPCs (if applicable) and we'll be able to get you into the system ASAP!
How can I add my brewery to Craft check?
But I really like [insert name of macrobrew here]! Why can’t I just drink what I want?
Look, far be it for us to tell you what to drink. Beer is incredibly personal and everyone’s tastes are different. Hell, we’d be lying if we told you we didn’t occasionally grab a Guinness or a Blue Moon. We’re not fundamentally opposed to macrobreweries and we don’t think they’re inherently evil. We do, however, think it’s more than a little dishonest for multinational corporate beverage conglomerates to trade on the passion and hard work of thousands of small craft breweries who can’t comprehend the idea of “compromise” (let alone “multibillion dollar marketing budgets”) while simultaneously making it harder for them to compete in a marketplace.
So by all means drink what you like, but since the big guys are going to so much effort to trick you into thinking you’re buying from small craft breweries, we’re going to keep doing our best to level the playing field.
What’s your favorite brewery?
Well, we’re West Coast proud, so we’ve got some affinity for the locals - Stone, Green Flash, Deschutes, North Coast, Smog City, and Eagle Rock being some particular favorites. But both Boston Brewing Company and Sierra Nevada have done some amazing things for the craft beer community, and if Maine ever gets invaded (we’re looking sideways in your direction, Canada) we’ll pack our pint glasses and make a last-stand at Allagash. So I guess it depends on our mood.
What are you drinking right now?
If you were to open our fridge at any given moment, you'd probably see a couple standbys from Stone (Arrogant Bastard, of all varieties, and Xocoveza being particular favorites), a plethora of Ommegang creations, some Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, North Coast Pranqster and Scrimshaw, and one or more of Left Hand's nitro offerings. Oh, and three bottles of Wesvleteren XII, but we’re saving those for a special occasion.
You use the word “so” too often.
That’s not a question.
Did you know you use the word “so” too often?
Yes, my seventh-grade English teacher is appalled. - Barrett
You must drink a lot of beer.
Yeah. And now it’s officially a business expense. Victory is ours.
You didn’t answer my question!