Craft beer is rising in America – matching the elegance of beer in Europe

This column is focused on “craft” beer, as opposed to the big brands that still dominate beer sales worldwide. The terms “craft beer” and “micro-brew” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are actually distinct from one another.

Micro-breweries produce less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year, while craft beer can be produced by breweries of much greater size.

So what exactly is “craft beer?” The Brewer’s Association (the trade group for craft brewers) offers their own definition. They say a craft brewer must be small, independent, and traditional.

  • By small, they mean annual beer production of no more than two million barrels of beer—Boston Beer, maker of Samuel Adams, is teetering on the brink of this limit and has about a one percent share of the U.S. beer market. Many local brewers produce less than a thousand barrels a year.
  • By independent, they mean that no more than twenty-five percent of the brewery can be owned by a big brewery like A-B, Miller, or Coors (the Big Three).
  • Traditional is the hardest to pin down, as they state a traditional brewer is one that has “an all malt flagship” or which uses “adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor”—a subjective matter. That’s a dig at the Big Three who use adjuncts (corn or rice) to lighten body and flavor and increase mass appeal.

ViaBH Weekly

 

Craft Brewing Facts

  • Craft brewers currently provide an estimated 103,585 jobs in the U.S.
  • Growth of the craft brewing industry in 2011 was 13% by volume and 15% by dollars compared to growth in 2010 of 12% by volume and 15% by dollars.
  • The craft brewing sales share in 2011 was 5.7% by volume and 9.1% by dollars.
  • Craft brewer retail dollar value in 2011 was an estimated $8.7 billion, up from $7.6 billion in 2010.
  • 1,940 craft breweries operated for some or all of 2011, comprised of 1,063 brewpubs, 789 microbreweries and 88 regional craft breweries.

Source – Brewers Association

 

 

And, if you live in Southern California, San Diego has 46 craft brewers for you to try out and 9 more opening this year. Get your drink on.

Continue reading Craft beer is rising in America – matching the elegance of beer in Europe

San Diego takes the lead in craft beer breweries

Not since Prohibition have there been this many craft beer breweries. It’s a small business revolution and I am lucky enough to live next to one, San Diego:

This year’s World Beer Cup lived up to its international name, with winners coming from all corners of the globe — including San Diego County, where breweries took 16 awards.

The annual convention boasted a record turnout (4,500 attendees) and the every-other-year World Beer Cup also witnessed an unprecedented 3,921 entries — 600 more than in 2010.

That may be one reason why San Diego’s breweries saw their total number of medals fall from 2010’s 21.

“We had a good showing,” insisted Marty Mendiola, brewmaster at Rock Bottom La Jolla and the San Diego Brewers Guild’s president. “But the quality of the beer is stepping up around the world.”

Yet local brewers had reasons to rejoice this year. Pizza Port Ocean Beach won three awards; Pizza Port Carlsbad, Lost Abbey, AleSmith and Green Flash all took two apiece; Alpine, Manzanita and Rock Bottom La Jolla one each.

Karl Strauss also captured two awards, including its second consecutive World Beer Cup gold for Red Trolley Ale

via – Local brewers take 16 medals in World Beer Cup

 

It’s exciting to see our tastes go beyond the massively commercial beers (Budweiser, Coors) to a more European-taste where beer making is an honored tradition and the quality is extremely high.

 

//Photo – Francesco Bartaloni, MacKinnon Photography