According to a report released by the Brewers Association on March 18, “craft brewers saw a 15 percent rise in volume and a 17 percent increase in dollar growth, representing a total barrel increase of almost 1.8 million,” and they also made up an infographic detailing the growth of craft beer in U.S.Take a walk into any proper liquor store and you’re bound to come across a wide variety of craft beers. In fact, craft beers had an excellent 2012.
Over the last couple of years, due to growing popularity, the craft beer definition has even been altered from a craft brewery that produces two million barrels a year, to one that brews no more than six million barrels annually. This has been done in part so that certain breweries, like Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada, can remain a craft label. Heck, even the two major brewing companies (Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors) are trying to cash in on the craft beer craze with labels like Blue Moon and Shock Top.
But why are people beginning to throw back so many craft beers?
One reason could be the amount of craft breweries that are springing up around the country. In 2012, there were 409 new brewery openings and only 43 closings. In total, there are now 2,403 operating craft breweries. But there are also a number of other reasons why craft beers are popular among drinkers. For example, most of the time, they actually taste better than some of the bigger and watered-down brands. And, with a higher alcohol by volume, customers get more brew for their buck, in a way.
Still, purchasing a six-pack, or even a four-pack, of craft beer is more expensive than what your dad used to drink. While you can justify spending the extra cash, it doesn’t always make sense for a drink that has been a favorite for the middle and working class.
While I enjoy craft beers, there’s a time and place for them, just like anything else. If you just want to sit back and have a couple of beers after a long day of work or want to pair a beer with meal, there’s nothing better than a craft beer. But if you’re planning on getting drunk or hosting a party, then craft beers don’t add up. I’ll be honest, I have no shame in purchasing a 30-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Hipsters aside, PBR is a cheap beer that has a decent taste. And that’s my preference. But, I’ll also pick up a favorite craft beer, like Dogfish Head, or try out something new when the seasons change. I usually sip on those for my first couple and then switch to the cheap stuff.
While it’s great that the smaller guys are chipping away at the big boys market, some people take their craft beer way too seriously. That sort of snobbery can be a turnoff for people trying to find a new brew. Again. It’s great that these smaller labels are getting the recognition they deserve, but let’s not easily dismiss the bigger labels. There can be a time and place for them. It’s just based on your particular taste.
If you do have a favorite craft beer, or would like to recommend a label, drop us a line in the comments section.