What does “craft” mean to us?
Craft is a word that is used relentlessly across many industries. From innovative and creative small brands to large corporations alike. There are those who honour the term. And there are others whose sole purpose is to create the illusion of a superior product. It is a marketeers hook. A way to build a story around a product for branding purposes alone.
The official definition of craft is quite simply that something has been made with skill and by hand. The official definition of craftsmanship is that an individual has skill in a particular craft. Based on these alone almost every distillery could be considered craft in some way shape or form.
So we wanted to take a closer look. And in the context of our industry put our heads together and share with you what “craft” means to us.
Passion, mind-set and intuition.
There is a certain state of mind that comes with craft distilling. For us this is the most important attribute that any distillery should possess. A craft distiller lives and breathes what they do. They crave experimentation and constantly strive to improve and build upon the spirits they create. They have a natural sense for what they’re doing, an intuition that cannot be taught. A romance between distiller and process. Between art and science.
Understanding the process and always asking “why”.
A true craft distiller has great technical knowledge of the distilling process, understanding its quirks and intricacies inside and out. This knowledge comes not only from books and tutelage but from experience. Years of learning through doing it themselves and working alongside distillers and master distillers who impart their wisdom. From consistently asking why. Why a particular process is done the way it is. Why certain ingredients work well together. Why the traditional way became the way. Always questioning if there is a better way to do things. The why is what takes a distillery to the next level. Crafting and experimenting with spirits in ways that others do not.
We believe ingredients should be traceable. A craft distiller will know where the grains and botanicals they use have come from. They will have been chosen solely because they give the best results, not because they are easily sourced. Our distillers ran single distillation trials of juniper berries from thirteen origins before they made a decision on which they would use. The same care and attention went into every other botanical in our gin. Our Spanish coriander, Guatemalan cardamom and Albanian lavender alike.
There is often a question of size when it comes to defining a craft distillery. To us, size does not matter. The ingredients, the knowledge, the experimentation, the passion, the drive to improve at every distillation; this is what holds weight. Without these no distillery, big or small, could truly be considered craft.
Regardless, there are many distilleries presenting themselves as craft. Many spirits created for the purpose of fitting a marketing narrative and the opportunity for quick sales. Just because a spirit uses locally foraged ingredients, or its five botanicals represent the five wells from which the distillery draws its water, does not make it craft. There is so much more to it than that.
“Why?” is the question that to us separates the craft wheat from the craft chaff.
Craft. It’s time to reclaim the word.
We want to know what craft means to you tweet us @LoneWolfSpirits to join the conversation.