By Ryan Beitler, Special To PubClub.com
In recent years, craft beer has enjoyed a renaissance. Not only are consumers drinking old Belgian and German beers, the industry in the United States has blossomed. This is for many reasons, but the craft beer scene has spread out of California and has made its way to the rest of the country. Microbreweries are popping up everywhere, with unique styles, art, and vibes. The beer industry has gone from a few huge companies dominating the market to a growing variety of small brewers and local beers. Below are a few ways that the beer industry is changing and improving today and into the future.
One way that the beer industry has improved is due to the growing number of microbreweries. Small batch beer and facilities enable brewers to establish family-run and community businesses. It has changed from beer being produced in some far off place to it being brewed right in the facility. Beer-makers are able to brew beer in the same place they serve it to customers. Not only does this facilitate the process, it creates a scenario where microbrewers can keep their beer exceedingly fresh. Microbreweries have changed the beer industry forever.
New Styles, Ingredients, & Methods
The sky’s the limit when it comes to beer. Beer was one of the first alcoholic beverages ever created. The process of fermentation is simple, and there are only a few basic ingredients needed for beer—barley, hops, and drinking water. Everything else is extra. Not only are breweries using old styles in their beers, they are creating new ones. You can find every type of beer you can imagine in the United States these days. There are fruity beers with blackberries and coffee stouts. There are beers made with nuts and nitrogen. Whatever you can think of has probably already been made into a delicious beer by someone.
Another way that the beer industry has improved is the art involved with it. Both brand design as well as individual cans and bottles have amazing art these days. A popular thing in the industry is to do collaborations between beer companies and other brands. It could be a collaboration between an artist and a brewery, like Flying Dog and Ralph Steadman, or it could be between a clothing company and a beer brand. There is a concerted effort to make interesting and engaging beer can sleeving and bottle design. Before the art on beers was pretty bland and predictable, now anything goes with the graphic art associated with beer.
Despite that brewery businesses are smaller than the big brands, they are being widely distributed by the larger companies. Even small breweries are opening up tap rooms and brewing locations around the world. Big companies like Budweiser and Coors are investing in craft beer businesses and distributing beers from smaller breweries. Now craft microbrews are being shipped around the country and the world so that even if you live in a place with no craft beer, you can still access some of these amazing beverages. Craft breweries have become so significant that there is even a top 50 list.
With microbreweries becoming popular, there has been more of an emphasis on sustainability. Since smaller brews are being manufactured and selling out, there is less waste. Breweries are also using new energy sources, diverting from landfills, and using environmentally-friendly practices to brew their beers. There are also significant recycling efforts. Aluminum cans are almost infinitely recyclable and breweries are recycling them to make new ones.
Since the turn of the millennium, there has been a surge of great American craft beers. Microbreweries are brewing exciting new beer styles and using unique ingredients. They are canning and bottling their beers more sustainably, using better art, and are focusing on making more environmentally-friendly products.
In a short amount of time, the beer industry has gone from mostly corporations to small, family-owned and community-ran businesses. Now local beer-makers can become known for their beers, selling them both in their tap rooms and distributing them with larger businesses. The industry has changed a lot, and if this shows any indication, the beer business will continue to grow and improve.
Ryan Beitler is a journalist and writer.