Grape Ale is ITALIAN
Grape Ale is ITALIAN
A new release of the BJCP beer style guidelines is expected soon. In the past months/years relevant efforts have been made to get the Italian Grape Ale (IGA) recognised as a beer style within the BJCP guidelines that mentions IGA on the 2015 release for the first time. In this new forthcoming release, the expectation of italian breweries/consumers/pubs is to see the IGA style as fully recognised.
BJCP is currently evaluating to change the name of "Italian Grape Ale" into "Grape Ale" in order to grant the request of other countries to preduce and name their beers with a more generic "Grape Ale" (e.g. in case grapes varieties other than italian ones are used).
This would be really disappointing for our craft movement that made a lot of efforts in the last years to get recognition of this style that, indeed, has its origin in our country with no doubts.
IGA is largely produced in Italy (more than 200 examples of IGA are known), the name is widely recognised and it's even included in the italian national vocabulary.
The BJCP style guideline is full of beer styles named with geographical prefixes such as "Belgian, Irish, Scottish, English, German, American" and we recognize this this is important because underlines the origin of the style. Removing the prefix "italian" means not acknowledging Italy as the country where this style was born and most largely produced. Italy is the largest grape harvester in the world and is also the Country where the highest number of grape varieties are harvested. Grape is in our blood and is not simply a fruit... it's much more. it's identity, tradition, diversity, culture, family.
The efforts of BJCP in recognizing the historical value of Country with traditions in beer is priceless and commendable. The first BJCP mission is "Encourages knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the world’s diverse beer, mead, and cider styles". IGA is a relatively new style in a relatively new beer Country that is contributing to the beer knowledge in Europe. Losing the BJCP recognition on the style's name (Italian Grape Ale) would be a huge loss for our beer tradition, a gap in knowledge of european beer history that could affect the beer diversity.
We know that there is the interest of other countries to produce IGA and that may not want to name their beer as IGA because of the italian prefix but we strongly believe this is not a good reason to erase the geographical indication from the name. This would contemporarely erase the credit our country has on this style. It's very important to understand that "Italian" in the IGA appellation is not related to the origin of grape varieties, it is related to the peculiar use of grapes that Italian breweries make when producing beer.
As an italian beer movement, we ask the BJCP to fully recognize the IGA style in the next release of the BJCP style guideline acknowledging "Italian Grape Ale" as an italian style of beer originated in Italy.
We suggest the BJCP to identify as a generic "Grape Ale" those beers that do not fit the IGA style for any provided reason (e.g. organoleptic characteristic different from IGA as described in the BJCP)