What actually is : Artisanal?

It is repeatedly emphasized that certain products are artisanal spirits / products. But what does this word actually mean and why has it been used more and more in connection with spirits and food in recent years?
Is this a pure marketing gimmick or does this word have an impact on the quality and manufacturing of the end product?
We would like to bring some light into the jungle of foreign words.

The word artisanal or artisanale comes from French and translated into German means "craft". A first indication of why this word is used again and again in the food and luxury goods sector. Craftsmanship usually stands for exceptional quality, craftsmanship and non-industrial production.
After the age of industrialization had a strong impact on us and changed people's lives extensively, this may be the reason why the words artisanal, handicraft and non-industrial are used more and more. While a few years ago the large metropolises were the preferred habitat of people, one can now observe that many are being drawn back from the cities to the rural regions. Another indicator is the increased awareness of organic farming, urban gardening, super foods and of course trends such as Paleo nutrition.
Even though many of the trends may seem ridiculous and dismissed by many as a phenomenon of big city districts, it can be seen that the awareness of natural, untreated and non-industrial products continues to rise.

What is the difference between artisanal and industrial?

With artisanal production, handcrafted one-offs are produced, which are usually only available in small quantities. Due to the manual production, the individual products can differ slightly, even in one batch.
Industrial production, on the other hand, produces mass-produced goods in an optimized production process. Machine production can guarantee that every product is the same.

While creativity and the passing on of experience and knowledge play a major role in manual production, in industrial production the starting product is copied and produced again and again with the same quality.

By preserving the artisanal production method, traditions and cultural identities are maintained and continued. Traditional approaches and their transmission from generation to generation play a major role here.
On the other hand, in industrial processing, technical development and its progress are in the foreground.

While artisanal products are usually manufactured close to the source of the raw material and thus at traditional locations, the location can be varied in industrial processing. The procurement of the raw material or the historical production site does not usually play a role here, but rather the optimal use of resources and the financially most favorable production site.

Precisely due to the point of production mentioned above and of course due to the traditional production, artisanal products are usually more expensive and difficult to obtain. In the case of industrial products, on the other hand, production costs can be reduced and the output can be increased through machine production. This lowers the final price for the consumer and the number of goods produced far exceeds that of artisanal production methods.

What does this mean for the spirits industry?

The definition given above gives an idea of what artisnal manufacturing processes mean for the spirits industry. Traditional manufacturing methods are used here, in which the individual work steps are still produced by hand and mostly with traditional tools. There are no additives or chemical products intended to facilitate the manufacturing process.
In contrast, additives are often used in industry to speed up production and guarantee the same taste. Small deviations can occur from batch to batch in handcrafted products, which is not least due to the natural basic ingredients. 
Artisanal spirits are strong in character and testify to traditional craftsmanship. Not to be compared with the same products in the industry over and over again. For this, the consumer has to dig a little deeper into their pockets.

What does this mean for the customer / consumer?

Last but not least, the additional costs for artisanal products mean that consumers have to decide to what extent they value the work behind the products and are therefore happy to pay more.
Due to the trend, which we mentioned at the beginning, towards organic farming, own gardens, even in the city, and the awareness of a balanced and healthy diet without industrial additives, awareness of artisanal spirits has also increased.
Away from the masses towards the class, seems to be slowly but surely gaining ground. Man is an individualist and therefore also wants products that stand out and differ from the crowd. Due to the limited availability of handicraft products and the constantly increasing demand for them, the costs for the consumer can of course be higher. Because despite the great popularity of society, production should not and cannot be increased, as this would mean that the basic idea of artisanal products would be lost again.
The trick is to find a middle way that makes it possible to continue to produce sustainably and in accordance with tradition and yet make the products accessible to a larger group of buyers.

What should be considered?

Is artisanal always organic and therefore compatible with nature and the environment? Unfortunately, this cannot be generalized, because no controls are carried out when the term artisanal is used. A manufacturer can advertise with handicraft production, but it is not stipulated exactly how a product has to be processed.
Also, the raw materials for artisanal products do not necessarily have to come from organic farming, even if the majority of producers try to implement this consistently. Due to the hype of traditional spirits and small batch products, the consumer has to find out more about who is behind the product, where the raw materials and craftsmanship come from and how the tradition is continued in the production facilities.
Because not everything that advertises with tradition is also made purely by hand and using traditional methods.

It is repeatedly emphasized that certain products are artisanal spirits / products. But what does this word actually mean and why has it been used more and more in connection with spirits in recent years?

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