I have said it before and I will proudly say it again: I like beer. I like easy-drinking, non-offensive lagers and as a result many would out me as a phony and insist that I am not really a beer drinker and they would probably have a point. With the increase of craft beers on the market, there are many more full-flavoured options out there now so it may be time for me to start experimenting, but we’ll get to that later!
First things first, what defines a craft beer? Well, according to Wikipedia, the term ‘craft brewing’ typically refers to “small, independently-owned commercial breweries that employ traditional brewing methods and emphasize flavor and quality.” So craft brewers produce a lot less than the major beer corporations, and they do it without corporate-sized funding. But it is easy to see that, small-fries or not, craft beer is making a huge impact in Canada and throughout North America, and we’re going to look at why that might be.
We’re getting picky over our pours
As one may enjoy experimenting with different foods and pushing the limits of flavour in a meal, the same can be said for enjoying beer. Craft beer offers unique styles and flavours, something that the big label lagers can’t compete with. As a beer loving nation, a mass-produced, light lager just won’t do it anymore and we’re looking for new flavour sensations that only come from smaller, more innovative brewers.
Brewers are getting creative with their craft
If you frequent the hip, happening spots in your neighbourhood, it’s hard not to notice the increase in beer options, many of which you have probably never heard of. Brewers are becoming more daring with how they brew and the ingredients that they use and the beer drinkers of the world are lapping it up. The LCBO reported a 33% growth in craft beer sales for the 2012-2013 fiscal year and as a result of this success we’re seeing more craft breweries opening and selections expanding.
We love local
The ‘eat local’ mantra has shifted into the world of booze and we are now more likely to opt for a craft beer because it was brewed close to home. To choose local means to support smaller businesses and the local economy as well as minimizing any environmental impact. Also, there is a certain pride to sipping on suds that you know have been brewed with love, with passion and with the unique personality of your hometown. Leading us to our next point…
Small producers, big personality
Whether you’re enjoying a local craft beer or experimenting with something from another province or even small town America, you can be sure that whatever you’re drinking is truly unique. Each town, city, province or state uses crops that are exclusive to that area. They use water that is exclusive to that area. And the brewers themselves are unique individuals shaped by the town or city they live in. All of these are factors that affect the way a beer is brewed and, as a result, each beer has a personality all of its own based on the place of conception. You can taste the time and attention that has been put into each bottle, something that can’t be said for beer produced under a global corporation.
So in closing, it seems pretty obvious why we’re having a love affair with craft beer! When faced with the choice of mass production vs. local, bland vs. flavourful, expectable vs. original, it only makes sense to opt for a craft brew. And on that note… I’m off to the pub, time to expand my palate. Cheers!