Obeisance to St. Mike
Off and on over the years the question comes up, who first used the term craft brewery, craft beer, craft brewer, etc.
Until recently, the earliest citation I was aware of is from Paul Gatza on Stan Hieronymous’ Appellation Beer site in 2010, in response to his post inquiring who first used the term “craft beer”.
Gatza responded in part:
The earliest publication of the term “Craft Brewing” here at the Brewers Association that I know about is The New Brewer magazine, Vol. 1, No. 5, September-October 1984, pages 3-4 in Vince Cottone’s article “Craft Brewing Comes of Age.” The term is [sic] “craft beer” is not used in the article, but Vince used the phrases “craft-brewing scene,” “craft brewery” and “craft brewing” in the piece. I have a scan of the article available upon request…
Just the other day I was reading The Pocket Guide to Beer by the late Michael Jackson, published in 1982 by Frederick Muller Limited, London. This is the first appearance of a guide that ran to six or seven editions. They bore varying titles due to differing publication arrangements, but each was an update of the previous one. Each was sold on release in both the U.K. and North America.
On pg. 81, in the entry for “Timothy Taylor, Keighley”, Michael Jackson writes:
TIMOTHY TAYLOR, Keighley. A craft brewery down to the last detail. Very small, producing a wide range of all-malt beers on the edge of the moorland Brontë country. All the draught is cask-conditioned, and the bottled ale is unpasteurized…
In effect, with striking concision he defined keynotes of the beer renaissance for the next 30 years and coined its trademark phrase “craft brewery” (and by extension the derivatives craft beer, craft brewing, etc.).
He also made it clear the phrase applied in Britain to notable examples of the cask tradition, hence not limiting the term geographically, much less to the United States, as is assumed today.
The next edition, called The Simon and Schuster Pocket Guide to Beer, came out in 1986. Jackson again praises Timothy Taylor but in different terms and the term craft is omitted. The 6th edition, entitled Pocket Guide to Beer, came out in 1997. It again praises Timothy Taylor and again omits the word craft. I have seven editions of Jackson’s guide. Only the first one, from 1982, used the term craft brewery.
There are two other uses of the “craft” in that first edition, once in connection with top-fermentation tradition at the Belgian brewery Dupont, and once to characterize the brewing of a Jackson selection of top-ranked breweries. While not on point as such, these reinforce the Timothy Taylor reference. They the term was on Jackson’s mind as a signifier of quality and (typically, or often at least) small-scale brewing.
See here, in Google Books, for all these various usages; just insert “craft” in the snippet box to see them.*
Therefore, the earliest use of the term “craft brewery” to date (to my knowledge) is by Michael Jackson. Jackson is generally acknowledged as the greatest beer writer of all time. Certainly he was was a huge influence on today’s craft brewing culture. It is entirely appropriate that he first used the term.
The reason it was overlooked is probably that the first edition of his pocket guide is relatively rare. To the extent the Jackson pocket guides are consulted today, usually a later edition is examined.
Note re image: the image above was sourced from the Wikipedia entry for beer writer Michael Jackson, here, and is believed in the public domain. If not in the public domain, the intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owner. Image used for educational and historical purposes. All feedback welcomed.
*Jackson in the same book also uses the terms “craftsman breweries” and “craftsman brewing”, the former in connection with small northern French breweries, the latter viz. the survival in Belgium of old brewing methods. Thus far, no evidence has appeared that Michael Jackson or anyone else used the specific term “craft brewery” before his 1982 usage in regard to Timothy Taylor, or set out product characteristics for this type of brewery, but see also my last Comment added below.