MicroCraft or Microbatch Craft beer

Drinking a SNPA and wondering when it stopped being really tasty. I get the feeling beer enthusiasts, and microbreweries need to resurrect the term “micro”. I’m sure MicroCraft or, MicroBatch, etc have been used, but these days I only ever hear and see the “Craft” designation. I think there needs to be a designation of batch size, not just total brewery output. Something happened 20 years ago as Sam Adams scaled up operations and batch sizes, and the same has happened more recently to Sierra. The beers just lost something as the batch size was scaled up. What batch size should earn the designation microbatch?


Can anyone quantify what makes a larger batch size inferior to a smaller batch? I know we tend to favor “artisan,” “craft,” and “small batch” products–not just in brewing. I think the collective assumption is that smaller operations focus more on quality vs. large operations that focus more on efficiency.

I have not had a SNPA in ages, so can’t comment on that product. Regarding SA, I’m not sure whether it is their product that has changed or my tastes. Either way, I rarely purchase a SA product. I know I found their Oktoberfest very underwhelming.

Here’s my good natured rant. :cheers: …

Sierra Nevada is as good as it ever was. Like some other small brewers that have grown into large ones, they have managed to keep their quality to high standard. Growth has not affected their quality one bit; they may have even improved their quality and consistency in the growing process.

I’m convinced that the perceived change is simply 'palate drift, and beer drinker’s palates are becoming quite jaded. Some beer drinkers are demanding ever increasing flavor intensity and alcohol levels, and we’ve come to a point where many brewers are more concerned with how much bitterness and ethanol they can cram into their high priced 22 oz bombers.

But I digress…The real point is that size has little to do with quality. It’s about skill. As was suggested in another thread, these days “craft beer” is a marketing term and not much more. Though one must admit that the marketing has been very effective.

Maybe “micro” would better differentiate the difference between the big and small brewers of the world. Oddly, despite continuing to turn out great product, some of the successful brewers that have grown into large operations are already losing some of their ‘artisan cache’ (at least in some people’s narrow perception).

Terms like “craft beer” and “microbrewery” will become obsolete anyway some years down the line.
It will ultimately come down to simply a question of “good beer” or “bad beer”.

This thread inspired me to have a SNPA on draft while I was out with some coworkers last night. It was not as good as I remember it being. I’m 98.7% certain this is because my tastes have changed–not because the product has changed. I couldn’t find anything wrong with the beer. It just doesn’t stand out in a crowd the way it used to when the crowd was more tame.

Like most people, I can tell you when and how my tastes changed…when I started liking coffee, dark chocolate, dry red wine, IPA, sharp cheddar, sushi, med rare steak, etc… I also know products change as production is scaled up. I just don’t think you can scale up production of food products 10x, 25x, 100x, 1000x, without changing them in the process. Whether its pizza, bread, hamburgers, cows, chickens, coffee, or beer, it’s bound to change at some point. I see the word “craft” as a way to allow successful Microbrewers to expand and enjoy success on a larger batch scale without being tied to the micro designation. However, I also think there’s a benefit to holding onto the micro designation for batch size and total brewery output. Long live MicroCraft.


Well, being a CA native and having been to the Sierra Nevada brewery several times over the course of the last 11 years, one thing I’ve noticed is not a change in quality or batch size, just the amounts of batches produced. According to them, they still use the exact same recipe, in the same size batches, they just have the capacity to brew more of them now.

I’m by no means jumping to their defense, just offering a different perspective. it stands to reason that nothing really changes with size increase. I can’t even recall how many times I’ve just doubled up the grist and re-calculated bitterness due to going from A 5-GAL, to a 10-GAL batch.

With all that said,I kinda feel like Arrogant Bastard from Stone has kinda lost some of its “aggression”, although I’m almost positive that’s because I’ve learned to enjoy those flavors more in the last 10 years.


As long as the forum emailed me about an old topic, I figured I resurrect it.
Have opinions changed on this in 4 years? Is it time to quit using the term “Craft” which ironically sounds generic now.

(Go easy on me, I’ve been out of the loop for a few years. If this topic has been addressed recently, feel free to point me to a good recent thread.)

I still like the term “MicroCraft”. I am also still of the opinion that food products don’t scale up over and over again without some changes in flavors. Pick a small bakery or other local food producer, and imagine it turning into a factory that serves the continent. Your favorite bread, pastry, or whatever is going to change and probably for the worse. And I’m still of the opinion that Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada’s flagship beers were better when they were smaller operations.

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Advertising has taken the term craft beer to such lofty heights for large breweries to push their product it has no meaning to most people. Perhaps we home brewers should start making artisan beers. Then a few can start a microbrewery making artisan beers. As soon as the artisan beer becomes popular the micro brewery will be bought by a large brewery. The term artisan beer will also become meaningless.

Might I suggest “Heritage” or “Heirloom” brewing, if we’re going to take this all the way to it’s (il)logical conclusion. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I personally am not concerned with the size of an operation, but the quality of the output. Sometimes, these are related. It’s hard to keep beer fresh if it has to go through the logistical nightmare of being shipped far and wide for all to drink. I am in the “my tastes have drifted more than beer has changed” camp.