Liberty Distillery’s Lisa Simpson: Craft Spirits or Crafty?

Micro, Nano, Craft, Artisan, Small Batch, Hand Crafted… all suggest the same thing to the consumer who enjoys spirits AND supporting local small business. But do these descriptors carry the same meaning? Phrases like “hand-crafted” and “hand-made” may be good marketing, but legally they carry no weight, in fact there are no rules or basic requirements by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on spirit labels to define ‘Craft’ to prevent misleading claims on labels. The sad truth is that today’s spirit movement favours the concept of ‘grain to glass’ yet the word ‘craft’ can be found on labels from any ‘crafty’ spirit producer.

So how do you find out which is craft? Is there a definitive definition? The short answer is no, standards of identity are not consistent from country to country and province to province, let alone between distillers and within the craft industry itself. The devil is in the details and it’s best to ask “what’s inside the bottle? how was it produced?” so that you learn and then can decide for yourself. But first the basics – what do you need to know?

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