What is Craft Beer anyway?

If you’re a seasoned beer lover, you’re probably no stranger to the term “craft beer”. It’s the buzzword of the beer world, and for very good reason in our humble opinion. But for those new to the craft beer scene, the concept can be a bit, well, hazy. 

What Makes Craft Beer a Craft Beer?

Craft beer is all about quality over quantity, with a focus on small batches made by independent breweries. Small, independent breweries (like ours) pour their heart and soul into each and every pint, using only the finest ingredients and unique flavour combinations to create a beer that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Unlike mass-produced beers that come from large, commercial breweries, craft beer is brewed with passion and creativity, and isn’t just brewed for profit. It’s the ultimate expression of the brewer’s art, and every sip is a testament to the dedication and hard work that goes into every batch.

Craft brews often experiment with unique and interesting ingredients, such as fruits, spices, and even coffee. 

So if you’re looking for a beer that’s a bit more special, craft beer is the way to go; it’s the perfect combination of art and science, with a healthy dose of innovation thrown in for good measure. 

What is a Craft Brewery?

The basic definition of a craft brewery is basically, small, indie outfits that brew up beer in limited quantities. But what counts as “small” varies depending on where you are in the world.

According to the Brewers Association, which represents craft breweries in the US, the definition hinges on the size and independence of the brewery. Over the pond in the US, a craft brewery is a brewery that cranks out less than 6 million barrels of beer a year and isn’t more than 25% owned by a non-craft brewer. 

Here in the UK, craft breweries like ourselves, are defined as breweries that produce less than 500,000 litres of beer annually. Similar to the US definition, even partial ownership to a larger brewer would defunct a craft brewery of its independent status. Today, the UK’s beer scene is dominated by large, commercial breweries with only a few independent players flying the flag for true craft beer.

Ultimately, the differences in definition reflect each country’s beer industry history and culture.

Craft Beer vs Regular Beer

So, does craft beer really differ that much from regular beer? Honestly, yes – it’s a whole different beast. Good craft beer isn’t your grandad’s watery lager; it uses top-shelf ingredients like organic hops and locally-sourced malt. It’s pricier to brew than the mass-produced stuff for sure, but it’s worth it for the complex flavours and aromas we can create.

Creativity is another important point to talk about as it’s practically a requirement in the craft beer world. Here’s at Polly’s, we’re always tinkering with new ingredients. In our book, there are no rules on flavour or ingredients, which is why we often release beers that are one-off brews and don’t always quite fit into a standard category or style. But that’s the beauty of craft beer, you never know what’s going to show up on the menu next.

Another key differentiator between craft beer and regular beer is that craft beer can really pack a punch. When it comes to ABV, we’re not afraid to push the limits and go big on the alcohol content; take our DDH Spur Triple IPA that has a cheeky 10% ABV as an example. So, that being said, if you choose a flavoursome craft beer over a regular pint, you might want to sip and savour instead of chug and guzzle. 

Here at Polly’s, our philosophy as a craft brewery has always been quality over quantity and rather than producing a broad range of styles, we have chosen to excel in a select few. Our expertise primarily lies in hoppy beers such as pale ale and IPA, which we have perfected over time. That’s not to say we don’t branch out into other styles occasionally. Over the years, we have ventured into more experimental styles, such as sours, stouts, and traditional styles with a modern twist. 

Calling Last Orders

Trust us, once you taste really good craft beer, you’ll never go back to mass-produced beer again. 


Back to blog