Wednesday, January 24, 2018

☸️ Craft Beer Is the Strangest, Happiest Economic Story in America

Derek Thompson—The Atlantic:

But in the last decade, something strange and extraordinary has happened. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of brewery establishments expanded by a factor of six, and the number of brewery workers grew by 120 percent. Yes, a 200-year-old industry has sextupled its establishments and more than doubled its workforce in less than a decade. Even more incredibly, this has happened during a time when U.S. beer consumption declined.

There are sound economic and regulatory reasons for the dawn of the craft beer industry, but the most obvious and joyful sustaining cause is only touched on briefly by the author: craft beer is a better version of what big brewers have been producing since the post-war period began. Once beer drinkers got a taste of something better, and with the three-tier system in place protecting small producers, craft beer exploded.

Big brewers make their money by dumbing down the product with adjuncts—they’re a cheaper way of putting sugar in contact with yeast—and producing a less flavorful product appealing to a wide audience of drinkers, who have been conditioned by a bland, Americanized food and beverage landscape. AB InBev and MillerCoors are the MacDonald’s and Olive Garden of beer makers, purveying uninteresting sameness approaching alcoholic soda pop.

Craft beer is about diversity of flavor and welcoming attitudes in the taproom. You can buy the product in supermarkets, but for a true craft beer experience nothing beats going to a brewery and sampling four or five of their beers in a session. You’ll almost always meet someone who’ll tell you the story of each beer, or the brewery, and make you feel part of the craft beer family.

(BTW, about that article’s top photo: sampling craft beer does not involve holding a glass up to the light unless you’re making a toast. We leave the pretentious crap to wine snobs.)

#craftBeer #ABInbev #MillerCoors #smallBatch