What is Craft?
We at SCULL, consider our kombucha as a craft brew. But what does that actually mean? Labelling everything as a craft is very on trend. Look at the beer industry in the past 10 years and a lot of the garage brewed beers have become full fledged micro breweries that have dominated your tastebuds. So much so, big brands are buying up the smaller players to appeal to the changing marketplace. Does this necessarily negate all the hard work that it took to make it big? Yes and no. If the brand stays true to their original ethos, and sticks to their guns. I would argue that they are still a craft beverage. But if the craft brands relent to their investors and dilute their winning formula. You'd have to say they no longer are a craft beverage. Once a company starts taking short cuts and skim on cost in order to enhance their bottom line and fill the pockets of their investors, the soul of the craft is lost.
For us, craft means uncompromising on quality and values. It doesn't mean small batches (although we very much are in this category). We would argue you can be a larger player and still be considered a craft brand. You can also adopt the methodologies of the big boys and still be feel safe. What better way to stay competitive than utilising the vast sums of money their brands have spent in R&D. If it is a better way to do something, you'd be foolish not to follow. But there is a fine line. A line every brand must remind themselves that they can't cross.
Saying something is crafted, doesn't have to mean it was created by hand from start to finish. To scale up as a business, you will need to rely on technology to help you out. This is something we have been thinking about lately here at SCULL. We are reaching the point where we can't physically hand fill, cap and label every bottle we produce. In future we will need our mechanical buddies to automate some of it for us. As long as your attention to the small things is unwavering, we feel like craft businesses can grow without fearing they lose their status. The small things matter in the long run.
As a brand, we believe you can't take the human out of the equation. Until our robo friends turn on us, we'll be satisfied with retiring the mop and bucket from the production spills that occasionally happen when doing everything by hand.