Drink craft, drink local & drink the world are all critical components of our daily mantra here at The Crafty Cask. So we thought it was about time we talked a little about why that is. You see, we’re on a mission to improve the drinks, experiences, and lives of those of us who enjoy a drink from time to time – tipplers, as we affectionally like to call ourselves. And, we’re on a parallel mission to support craft alcohol producers around the world by helping them increase awareness, interest, and demand from smart, savvy tipplers like you. So why do we think focusing on craft drinks or ensuring we drink local is the only way to go? I’m glad you asked.
Why Drink Craft
While many people have been on board the “eat craft” movement for quite some time, avoiding chain restaurants, out of season ingredients, and the like, it’s surprising to me how many of us don’t give the mass-made booze we’re drinking a second thought. When you commit to the drink craft movement there are a ton of benefits you’ll get back in return:
Support People, Not Companies
When you buy craft you’re supporting a real person who took a leap to follow a dream and build a business they’re passionate about. And unless they’ve been doing it successfully for a long time, that same person likely still has their hands in the every day business and is tasting each batch to ensure it’s exactly what they envisioned for you. Hands-on, artisan, craft alcohol in the making.
In huge corporations, employees may get the job done, but they’re not invested in the end product or the happiness of their consumers the way small business owners are. The success of craft makers relies on your happiness and resulting purchases, so creating products and experiences that you’ll love is their main focus. This passion tends to also mean they are often highly focused on quality, which brings us to our next benefit…
Better Ingredients Means Better Taste
When craft alcohol companies get gobbled up by one of the big guys, one of the first concerns everyone has is the cost cutting big booze will take on ingredients to save money. Lower quality ingredients almost always means lower quality taste. I’m not saying craft makers need to spend top dollar on every ingredient, but they are typically more willing to pay more of a premium if they truly believe that ingredient makes their final sip taste better or be more unique compared to what already exists on the market.
Big booze is incentivized to try to keep consumers from noticing any flavor changes while cutting costs as much as they possibly can – it’s simply the way big businesses are run. This often means subbing in synthetic flavor additives or other cheaper alternatives to the real-deal, highest quality ingredients. And I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather a delicious sip based on authenticity, real ingredients, and an owner that believes in every component of their recipe.
When I taste mass-made vodka, even the very best out there and compare it to some of my favorite craft vodkas, there’s just no comparison. I almost always need mixers for the big booze vodka yet when I sip Silver Tree or Block‘s vodka, who are very proud of the specific wheat used in their mashbill, I wouldn’t dare mix anything with it because it’s just so damn delicious on it’s own. That, my friends, is the taste benefit of craft when it’s done right (because to be clear – there is, of course, some bad craft booze out there too!)
Greater Variety & Unique Flavor Profiles
When people have a true passion for what they’re making, they tend to have more ingenuity. Sometimes to the detriment of their own business, even, because they’re more focused on the exciting end product than the bottom line or how big the market for that product will be. Their business challenge is your opportunity to find more innovative flavors and products that big booze just can’t justify spending the money on to experiment. And the more you support craft the more you help their initial risk to bring you a delicious new taste pay off.
This includes things you’ve likely been starting to see more of lately like the orange wine, amaros, aquavit, sour beers, mead, dry ciders, barrel aged gins, and more. And you know what? Craft makers were often the first to start making these products in modern times, with the big guys then jumping on the bandwagon to cut costs and mass produce it when they see there’s some consumer interest. Don’t reward that behavior. Keep supporting those craft innovators so they have the resources to keep creating and bringing you new and exciting products and flavors rather than supporting the big copycats just trying to make a quick buck.
Why Drink Local
Now that we covered the benefits of craft drinks, let’s talk a little about why our mantra to drink local is so important to us, and should be to you as well as the smart, savvy, tippler you are.
Get A Real Taste of Place
When you drink local you get a taste of that place that you are in. Whether that’s home or on the road, most craft makers love to showcase the local ingredients and flavors in their drinks. This also means you get access to flavor profiles that you may not normally encounter where you live.
I’ve had local, craft drinks such as banana beer in Zanzibar, Cacao Wine in Vietnam, Maine Blueberry Liqueur in New England, Pisco in Peru, Maple Cream Liqueur in Massachusetts, Rhum in the French Caribbean, Lemongrass beer in Cambodia and more. Finding these types of products is honestly a big part of why I travel… both for drinks and food! I love drinking like a local and finding new flavor combinations that I may have never even considered. Some of which are delicious that I initially thought would be gross (hello Cacao wine!) and others (um, yeah Banana Beer that’s you) that are the opposite. Even if you strip out the fun flavors, just trying the standard local beers, wines, and spirits can be a fun adventure to better understand what the locals prefer compared to other areas I’ve visited.
Keep Your Dollars In Local Pockets
When you drink a rum in Montana that’s imported from Puerto Rico, a big chunk of that money is going to retailers, distributors, freight, and more. But when you drink local, and especially if you can drink at the location where it’s made, there are less people in the chain to get that product from the maker to your glass. Which means more of your dollars are going to the maker themselves so they can continue to thrive and create more delicious products in the future. And, depending on where you are, it can also mean lower prices for you. Win-win!
Help Save The Environment
Did you know that moving just one case of wine from California to Connecticut takes almost 72 pounds of Carbon Dioxide? Ship it by air and it’s almost 290 pounds. That’s the equivalent of driving your car for 84-325 miles or charging your phone 4,300 -16,776 times for freight car and plane. For just one case of wine to travel across the United States! So by committing to drink local more often, you’re helping minimize the impact on our precious earth… all while supporting local small business owners and expanding your palate with high quality and innovative drinks because you drink craft as well!
Drink The World As You Travel…Then Bring It Home!
When we say drink local, we absolutely mean ask about and drink craft products that are made where you currently are. But to be fair, we don’t expect you to only do that all the time. The beauty of discovering local products when you travel is that you can bring them home with you or keep an eye out for them when you shop.
Yes, that does mean you’re impacting the environment which we just pitched as a selling point to drinking local… but we’re not expecting anyone to be perfect. As long as you’re primarily drinking local and not stocking your entire bar with products shipped halfway around the world, sharing an eclectic, global variety of drinks with friends is a delight. They not only taste delicious, but they’re a nice reminder of your travels and allow you to share your story and special experience of how you first discovered it.
Because that, Tippler Nation, is what the drink craft and drink local movement is all about. It’s about exposing you to the people, places, and stories behind every sip you take and supporting those local, craft makers so they can keep making those amazing drinks you enjoy so much and want to share with others.
Are you ready to join the drink craft, drink local movement with us? Jump in with some of our favorite craft drinks and local (depending on where you are!) makers with our maker profiles and videos here. And, don’t forget to leave a comment below to tell us about your favorite local drinks and craft makers so we can check them out next time we’re in town and potentially feature them as well!