Over the last few decades, craft breweries with their high quality micro-brewed creations, have been creating specialty batches of their “nectar of the gods.” Although large breweries dwarf independent breweries in volume of production each year — think Budweiser — the growth of small breweries has eclipsed overall beer industry growth. A lot of that can be attributed to their sense of style and taste… attributes the big brewers only dream about. One of the greatest things about these indie brewers is that they’re not trying to make enough beer to fill a football stadium, so they can focus on producing quality beers with the right ingredients.
The three qualities of a craft brewery are: they’re small, independent, and traditional. They also have a family tree. A brewpub produces beer primarily for sale in restaurants and bars, and sells 25% on-site. Next up on the food chain is the microbrewery, which produce less than 15,000 barrels per year, and sells up to 25 percent on-site. A regional craft brewery produces between 15,000 and 6 million barrels a year, and a contract brewing company handles marketing, sales, and distribution of a beer that’s been produced by a hired brewery.
Why is the indie brewing industry doing so well? Because they’re keeping things simple. It gives breweries an avenue to create beer to their own specifications and means. They don’t have a room full of board members breathing down their neck about quarterly reports and Super Bowl ad budgets. What you get is a group of people who are able to leverage their local roots, small scale, and unique offerings to garner devout followers and gain loyal customers. They also create great tasting beer because they love beer themselves.
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