Is Craft Beer Going Mainstream?

My Twitter timeline has been pretty full today, full of Iron Maiden and FHM; not exactly common bedfellows it has to be said. Evidently, this months FHM features a load of craft beer, as you can see from the image above. The double page spread appears to have beers from some of the bigger craft beer purveyors like Thornbridge and Dark Star, plus some from the newer, or less well known ones like Wild Beer Co. and Tiny Rebel. I’ve not actually seen the issue in question, as my local Tesco didn’t have any copies of FHM in stock when I popped in at lunch, Hopefully they’ll have some in at some point this week so I can have a proper look, as evidently, there is also a six page article featuring that Scottish brewery.

It makes me wonder though, what with events like Craft Beer Rising having just been, SIBA Beer X (with a cracking craft keg list) just about to kick off and the Liverpool Craft Beer Expo, Birmingham Beer Bash and Independant Manchester Beer Convention all still to come, are we at a tipping point? Now that lads mags like FHM are running craft beer articles, are we about to see craft beer going mainstream?

By mainstream, I mean not niche. We beer geeks live in a bit of a bubble, we’re pretty irrelevant in the big scheme of things, a tiny enclave in a world of industrial beer. I doubt that a few hipster beer festivals and lads mags articles are going to change the drinking habits of the majority of the beer drinking population, no matter how much we hope they will. However, I’m assuming the target audience for FHM is mainly late teens, early twenties, so they have the vast, vast majority of their drinking lives ahead of them. If even a few of them become curious due to articles like this and start asking for some of these beers in their chosen night time drinking establishments, then maybe, just maybe we might start to see a few places dabble with getting some more interesting beer in stock. That has to be a good thing, no…?

Update: here’s Hardknott Dave’s take on being one of the featured breweries

9 Replies to “Is Craft Beer Going Mainstream?”

  1. An emphatic “yes” – yes, craft beer is becoming a little less niche, and yes, this is a good thing.

    The demographic for this publication is good too. Appealing to middle aged people has a much shorter future than appealing to younger people.

    1. I think that craft beer is more a state of mind for the brewer, as it’s impossible to pin down a definition when talking about the UK market. Not all real ale is craft and not all craft is real ale, especially as a lot of craft goes into keg and all the better for it, in some cases. I really dislike the term craft beer when it’s applied to the UK beer scene, as some of my previous blogs will attest, I much prefer the use of progressive, or new wave. I also think that if craft beer can go mainstream, then it’ll be the keg and bottle varieties that do it, as they will be able to get into places that wouldn’t touch cask with a barge pole.

  2. If it means one or two of the 10-15 kegs in your average beer focused pub is taken over by a decent British craft pale ale or porter, that would be good enough for me. It would have to be sensibly priced if its going to take off mind you.

    As a side note, fair play to FHM, thats a pretty well chosen selection.

    1. I was very impressed with the selection, while I’ve had the majority of them, there’s a few I’ve not had, but from what I’ve heard online, I’m not sure there’s a bad beer on that page. Normally with these things there’s always one or two beers that we all go eh, what’s that doing there?, but not this time.

  3. The truth is, there is just not enough exposure (in the media or otherwise) for ‘proper’ beer. Articles like this, especially in a heavy-weight publication like FHM, is always going to help the cause.

  4. I think it can only be a good thing for great beers to receive more publicity, I also believe that having your favourite thing become more popular always comes with a certain amount of sadness because it’s not just ‘yours’ any more? It’s the same feeling that you get when you find a new band to listen to and the next week they are all over the media, you should feel happy that the band are getting more publicity & making more money but there is a certain stigma that comes with becoming ‘mainstream’.

    1. I’d love it if craft beer became more mainstream, as there’s nothing worse than going somewhere only to be greeted by a bar full of shite… 😉

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