MA300: Craft Beer ‘could follow mistakes of gastropubs phenomenon’

By James Evison

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Craft beer Term Beer Craft beer co

Craft Beer Co, Martin Hayes
Craft Beer Co, Martin Hayes
Craft beer is in danger of following the gastropub phenomenon and being misrepresented to consumers, Craft Beer Co’s Martin Hayes claimed at the MA300 Business Club in Brighton.

Martin Hayes said the craft beer term will only have value if it is not overused. He said the consumer cannot be fooled and would see through attempts to try and badge industrial beers as craft.

He said: "Large scale industrial brewers claiming to sell craft beer could see consumers eventually lose confidence in the short term. But in the long term consumers yearn for something tastier.

"Consumers will simply learn to weave their way through the market, in much the same way as they learnt to weave through home-made food and cooked food in pubs.’

He referred to ‘the Denmark experience’, where similar attempts to badge more commercial products as craft beer caused mistrust, and also ensuring that local beer was truly the best beer to be supplied for a pub.

He said: "Think, is local better? We are a small enough country that can scour the breadth of this country for great beers."

Speaking of his own experience, he said Greene King were considering ending the pub he took over, Cask in Pimlico, and creating a community centre. Five years on he reported the pub now had a turnover of in excess of £1m.


He said: "Five years ago I was a lonely pioneer. The Craft Beer market didn’t exist in the UK. I saw a storm coming - consumers were bored of generic beers.’

"My vision was to put in 20 handpulls and 20 kegs not just two or three, and put that alongside a selection of world-class beers in the bottles."

Speaking about creating the Craft Beer Co brand after opening Cask, which now includes five sites, he said: "I never intended to create a brand – I wanted to create a name that could be trusted. I wanted our name to represent a promise of the highest quality in the UK pub trade."

He said that Craft Beer Co did not enter into ties or obligations with brewers, but only used the best beers from the best brewers.

"We believe our business is to have the best beers in the UK and to be early adopters – and have a team in place which scouts out for the top new beers."

He said such a move was 'a logistical nightmare, but it is key to being top of our game'.

Hayes also said that it was about ensuring staff had the knowledge to ensuring the best beers were always stocked.

"Of course it’s about great beer, but it’s also about the staff – ensuring the best experience for the consumer."

He said on site selection: "Obtaining sites was not easy. We took on failing sites, but what we did each time was show a winning formula that worked each time."

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