Four Factors That Make Craft Beer Distinct From Regular Ones
There can be little doubt that craft brewery beer has taken the country by storm in recent years. Not that long ago, the choice of different beer flavors was very limited in North America, even if there were plenty of brands to choose between. The big brewery brands simply tended to make quite similar-tasting products that were not very distinctive. Today, the craft beer industry in the US is much more like the beer sector in Europe—rich in diversity. What makes craft beer so different? Read on to find out.
Production Scale and Ownership
At the heart of the craft brewery movement is the idea of small-scale, independent beer production. Unlike large conglomerates producing beer in massive quantities, craft breweries operate at the other end of the market, often serving local customers only. The Brewers Association, for instance, defines a craft brewer as one producing fewer than six million barrels annually. This distinction in scale allows craft breweries to emphasize quality over quantity and maintain an artisanal approach to beer-making.
Flexibility and Innovation
Given their smaller scale, craft brewers can afford to be more experimental than their larger counterparts. This often means infusing unique and locally sourced ingredients into their brews. While regular beers might prioritize consistency across batches, craft beers revel in the variation they offer consumers. Seasonal ingredients, historical recipes, and even completely new techniques find their way into craft brewing, resulting in a vast array of flavors and styles. It's not uncommon to find craft beers flavored with fruits, spices, herbs, and other unconventional ingredients. This is a testament to the adventurous spirit of many craft brewers.
Craft brewery beer will frequently be marketed with an emphasis on ties to local communities. Whether it's by hosting local events, participating in community projects, or even naming beers in homage to local landmarks, craft breweries typically start as local projects and continue to embed themselves within their communities as they grow. This sense of community and place is something larger beer producers, with their broader market targets, often cannot replicate.
Focus on Sustainability
Craft beer is often made with sustainable practices in mind nowadays. Craft breweries may prioritize sourcing their ingredients locally, for example, thereby reducing emissions from flying hops and other goods from overseas. Many craft breweries also implement sustainable brewing practices. These include water conservation, waste reduction, and renewable energy usage. This commitment to sustainability isn't just good for the environment, either. It resonates with a segment of consumers who are conscious of their ecological footprint.
Visit a local craft beer company to learn more.