Let’s face it the last few posts have gotten pretty deep - light v. dark, the meaning of life, etc. Now, the sun is out and the days are feeling more like summer, so it’s time to lighten the mood a little and do a refreshing post. Yes, I am talking about cold beer!
As you may have read recently or noticed by the changing selection of beers at local bars, the craft beer movement is sweeping the nation. We realize that you may have some questions about this trend, so here’s a little bit of background.
What is craft beer? Like most things in life, there is an organization, the Brewers Association, that has defined which breweries qualify as craft breweries in the United States, but individual perceptions may vary. According to definition, an American Craft Brewer is one that is small, independent and traditional. This means that craft beers come from breweries that produce less than 6 million barrels (that’s 186 million gallons!) of beer a year, majority ownership is in the hands of craft brewers, and production involves the use of traditional ingredients and fermentation. Hmmm...that means no Budweiser, Miller and Coors.
You may have heard the terms brewpub, microbrewery, regional craft brewery. These all are different types of craft breweries. They vary in terms of the amount of beer produced, where the beer is produced and sold, and the type of beer.
Craft beer accounts for almost 8% of the beer sold in the U.S., and sales are growing while overall beer sales are slowing. Millennials (people born between 1980 and 2000) are largely responsible for driving craft beer movement, according to industry leaders at the Beer Summit in Milwaukee this year. Craft breweries are continuing to pop up all over the country. According to the Brewers Association, the number of craft breweries increased by 20% from 2011 to 2012. Even locally, we can observe this trend. Just this year, two breweries opened in Columbia - River Rat and Conquest Brewing.
Josh Taylor, resident beer guru, voted Most Handsome Beer salesman in Columbia 2010-2013, rumored heir to Danish throne had this to say about craft beer:
"I have been selling craft beer in Columbia for a little over seven years now. When I first started, no one knew what craft beer was, and I worked three jobs to make ends meet. Now, I have new restaurants, bars, and retailers approaching me. The difference in beer culture in our area is amazing, and I am thrilled to have been a part of the explosion."
Why should you want to drink craft beer? Craft breweries are known for their innovative techniques used to enhance the flavors of traditional ingredients. For example, Left Hand Brewing Co. was the first craft brewery to bottle Nitrogen beer without a CO2 widget in the bottle. Also, many craft breweries are good citizens and are involved in their local communities. Lazy Magnolia, which is the first brewery in Mississippi since prohibition, sponsors local events and is committed to environmentally-friendly production. To read more about their environmental efforts including, side streaming and use of spent grains, yeast and beer, visit their site at http://www.lazymagnolia.com/givingback.php. Most importantly, these breweries strive to create GOOD BEER.
Where can you get craft beer? Craft beer is available in many retail outlets as well as bars. Now you may be thinking, does Grapes & Gallery sell craft beer? Absolutely. Currently, we have a selection of 12 beers, all of which classify as craft beer. Guess what?! Best of all, our beers are only $4!
Below is a list of our current selection. Brewery (state/country): name of beer
- Avery (CO): White Rascal
- Bells (MI): Amber Ale, Oberon
- Duck Rabbit: Brown Ale, Hoppy Bunny
- Foothills (NC): Hoppyum
- Konig (Germany): Pilsner
- Lazy Magnolia (MS): Southern Pecan, Hops’pitality
- Left Hand (CO): Milk Stout Nitro, Sawtooth Nitro
- Westbrook (SC): IPA
Check out descriptions and ratings of the beers we carry at http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/. And as always, we recommend stopping by to give them a try yourself!
Paint Your Day and drink craft beer!
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