The Incredible Rise of Craft Beer In America
There are three main categories when it comes to alcohol in the United States today: wine, spirits, and beer. Each of these categories is unique and there is a different flavor for everyone. One of the industries that has really grown in popularity over the last several years is the craft beer industry which represents breweries that produce a small amount of beer with quality ingredients and less fillers than the massive breweries that have been around for decades. Below are a few things to note about supporting local beer and craft beer in general:
Craft Beer Growth – The first thing to note is that for the first time in American history, the number of craft breweries is over 4,000, but still only holds 15 percent of a market share of the overall beer industry. That is not simply because the giant lager producing breweries create so much beer, but also because they buy out smaller craft breweries that may be threatening them. Even though craft breweries hold only 15 percent of the market share, they account for 99 percent of the total breweries in operation. That number is broken down into the distinct industry market segments of: 2,397 microbreweries, 1,650 brewpubs and 178 regional craft breweries.
Variety and Innovation – One thing that consumers have begun to love about craft beer is the variety that it brings with it. The competition between craft breweries is a friendly one, but because there is competition when it comes to types of beer, flavor additions, alcohol content, etc. then the consumer benefits. For instance, have you ever tried a bourbon barrel aged stout with pumpkins that comes in at 16 percent alcohol by volume? What about a sour beer brewed with watermelon or habanero peppers? These combinations are out there and waiting for you to try!
Supporting Local – The growth of the craft beer industry means that the residents of many cities and towns across America now have a local brewery to visit. Of course larger cities like New York and Chicago boast brewery numbers in the double and triple digit ranges, but for small towns in states like Delaware, Vermont, and Maine having one or two local breweries is absolutely great for the residents. Not only are you able to support a local business, but craft brewers are careful to source their ingredients locally when they can, so it really is a cycle of economic growth for the area.
Beer may not be your alcohol of choice, but if you haven’t been introduced to any craft beer at all because of what you remember beer tasting like ten years ago then you might want to give it another try. Like fruity drinks? Try a sour beer. Like booze heavy drinks? Try a barrel aged stout. Check out your local liquor store’s selection of craft beer and ask someone there to recommend something for you. You might be surprised at what all you have to choose from!