BrewDog: lack of trust pushes consumers towards ‘craft’

1st November, 2019 by Melita Kiely

A lack of consumer trust in politicians and the media has helped boost the ‘craft’ movement – but spirits producers must ensure they offer honesty, integrity and transparency to succeed, according to BrewDog Distilling.


BrewDog Distilling was formerly known as Lone Wolf

Speaking to The Spirits Business last month, David Gates, managing director of BrewDog Distilling, said the growth of ‘craft’ had been aided by a “breakdown in trust” across society, pushing consumers to seek “honesty and integrity” from smaller, independent brands.

“What led to the craft movement was a search for honesty and integrity, which is the biggest issue facing all brands at the moment really because our whole trust structures societally are being challenged,” said Gates.

“Who do we trust? Can we trust politicians? Can we trust media? Can we trust Facebook?

“And I think with that breakdown of trust, it led people to look for smaller independent businesses that felt local, felt authentic and genuine, and I think real craft brands will benefit, and those that are not will be found out.”

Defining ‘craft spirits’

Gates also said he was in two minds as to whether an official definition of ‘craft spirits’ would benefit the industry.

He voiced concerns that confining the term ‘craft’ to production size or ownership could put some smaller brands out of business.

“I guess [a definition] would be possible,” Gates said. “As a punk brand, it would feel weird to advocate for it and I think it’d take a lot of time, money and bureaucracy to do that.

“There are some small gin companies that buy NGS [neutral grain spirit] and do really interesting things to it, and it’s OK as long as they’re honest about it.

“One thing you could say, is that to be craft you should make spirits from scratch, not buying from massive factories. But then you’d put an awful lot of small, passionate people out of business who are doing some interesting things.

“Our advocacy would be that they should be honest on their packaging. My personal view is that I don’t think people will choose to buy a particular product because it says ‘craft’ on the label; they’ll do it because of the quality of the liquid, the packaging and the communications around it.

“I don’t think ‘craft’ is such a driver of choice now; it’s kind of gone beyond that.”

For an in-depth exploration of the ‘craft’ spirits category, see the November issue of The Spirits Business magazine, out soon.

One Response to “BrewDog: lack of trust pushes consumers towards ‘craft’”

  1. Javier says:

    Craft Spirits: distilled in smal batches in copper stills with100% natural ingredients (no chemicals, aromas or additives of any type).
    How do you make consumers trust CRAFT? -> EASY, let´s get a labelling system that is transparent and enforces to introduce what goes into a bottle.
    But OF COURSE, that is the challenge 🙂

    Javier –

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