The commercialisation of craft

So Diageo is very much invested in craft. But Lampen doesn’t like the term. His personal view is that craft is meaningless as a descriptor and that he has tried to unpick exactly what it means. He concludes that what people connect with is “maker-led companies”, which is what Distil Ventures is there to support. 


So what does the future hold? Craft descriptors will likely continue to spread, and become less meaningful to the consumer as they do. One man who can future gaze is Kevin Shaw, founder of Stranger & Stranger, the international design agency that designs packaging before it enters the market. He says continued misuse of these terms will “devalue artisanal terminology to such an extent that the growing cynicism will likely scar the authentic for some time”.  

When authentic craft distillers are forced to forsake their own terminology, the copycats will have nothing to copy – until of course the next buzzwords are born. But buzzwords are fatalistic by nature. Like drone bees, they buzz, reproduce and die shortly after. But this time there is a sense they have been taken by the companies that need them least, from the companies that need them most.