Craft Beer has become hugely popular in the last few years. With more craft beers than ever available on the market today it can be difficult to know where to start! Many people are intimidated by the craft beer industry because of how massive it has become. It can be difficult to know where to start and how to navigate this fun industry. Another reason some people might avoid this industry are the preconceived notions about the type of people who typically frequent craft beer establishments.
These are the best things to know about the craft beer industry. There’s something for everyone from beginners to tried and true craft beer pros!
Many people assume that in order to get into the craft beer “scene” you have to be a snobby geek who sniffs their beer before taking a sip. In fact, most craft beer lovers out there today are just excited about the crafting and brewing of great and unique beers! The craft beer industry is growing at a very rapid pace, trying to keep up with it can be very daunting even for tried and true aficionados. As a member of the craft beer industry, I feel it is important for consumers to know a little bit about the industry as a whole. Without further ado, here are some of the best things you should know about craft beer.
There are over 4,200 breweries in the United States today. That is more breweries than we have ever had in operation in US history. This means that the average American lives within 10 miles of a local brewery.
Locally Owned, Brewed in Small Batches
The Brewers Association defines a craft brewery as “a brewery that produces less than 6 million barrels of beer a year” also as a brewery where “less than 25% of the brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself, a craft brewer”. It should also be noted that in order to be considered a craft brewery the brewers needs to use traditional or innovative brewing ingredients in their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beers!
Festivals are a Great Way to Try Craft Beer
Craft Beer has many different beer festivals all over the country. You may have heard of Oktoberfest? Almost every state has their own craft beer festival! They typically feature many different craft beers to satisfy any palate. One of the biggest craft beer festivals is the Great American Beer Festival held every year in Denver, CO. This festival showcases over 800 different breweries from all over the country. There are an astonishing 1600 beers to try, many with some crazy and creative names!
There are TONS of Craft Beer Awards
There are many different awards handed out at craft beer festivals! Craft brewers take these contests very seriously. Every year these contests attract breweries from all over the world. Countless breweries come out in order to see how their recipes stand up to others in the industry. There are over 6,000 beers judged and only 282 medals awarded. With odds like that an award is a great accomplishment and craft brewers hold those awards in high esteem!
Sniffing Beer for a Good Reason
Contrary to popular belief, craft beer lovers aren’t snobby or pretentious. There is a good reason why we sniff our beer! Brewers design beers to have a very specific aroma; in order to experience all that a craft beer has to offer we take those few sniffs before drinking! Part of enjoying any craft beer is experiencing it fully with as many senses as possible. Sniffing beer can also give you an idea of what kinds of foods will go great with your chosen brew!