You may have discovered (in person, or online) that I have quite a love held for craft beer. Leave it to residing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest abundant with hops, or the fact that Portland is the U.S. city that has the highest amount of craft breweries per capita – there are several other reasons why I choose to fork out a little extra for the value I receive when choosing craft beer vs. macro-brewery options. Now, this isn’t to say that I scoff at the big guys in the industry…I just have more reasons as to why I go for supporting the craft beer industry. In fact, I’m not quite alone! According to a Time.com Money article, “43% of millennials say craft beer tastes better than mainstream brews…” and there’s a strong correlation of sales in the craft beer industry booming as millennials reach the age of 21+. Here are my 5 reasons to show the case of value for craft beer – cheers! (*insert beer mug emoji here*)
1. Craft beer provides one seriously awesome community
When you head to a public house, brew pub, beer fest, etc., you’re bound to meet a wide array of individuals that either a) seriously enjoy drinking craft beer OR b) got drug out with friends but took their first sip of craft beer & decided never to go back to mass produced beer again (even if they are just starting out by drinking a Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, or Pilsner). Regardless if you fall in the “a” or “b” category, everyone is just so dang happy and wants to include you. One of the traditions at the Great American Beer Festival is that the whole convention center joins in shouting a resounding “Ohhhhhh!” when someone accidentally drops their tasting glass. Mortifying? Maybe a little. But that doesn’t stop people from roping you in to take a shotski tasting at the next craft breweries booth (even if it’s an absolute stranger). Or when kegs tap out at the Oregon Brewers Festival, everyone breaks out in song (Do you know the song? No! that’s okay, just pretend like you do and you’re one with the crowd). Public houses also bring everything into one: incorporating great food, live music, conversation, and benefits/fundraisers in communities. So no need to think that craft beer is just limited to those that wear button down flannels, sport intricate beards, and give out “hipster” vibes – this community welcomes all & wants you to be a part of it!
2. The U.S. economy is benefiting greatly from the craft beer industry
And I really dig that concept. Just in 2014 alone, this industry contributed 424,000 jobs, as well as $55.7 billion dollars in the United States (Brewersassociation.org). I like to think that with every sip I take of a craft beer, I am contributing to a rapidly growing industry that’s generating dollars & career opportunities for many people. I’m pretty pumped to see what the stats & figures will be for the year 2015, because I’m sure it will surpass those of 2014. At home brewers, entrepreneurs, and those passionate about the craft are coming out of the woodwork and starting small brewing operations that are reaching astronomical growth in just a few years time.
3. Many choose to take on home brewing (can you say side hustle)?!
Many that get involved with the craft beer industry take on home brewing as either a hobby, or to pursue a passion for the craft (also refer back to #1 how this expands upon the awesome community). Did I mention home brewing could be a ridiculously great side hustle? Talk about home brewing specialty beers for friend’s weddings, creating seasonal ales for gifts, and just generating all around savings once your friends discovered you’ve made the best Chocolate Coffee Porter they’ve ever tasted (yay for at home dinner parties accompanied by home-brewed craft beer)!
4. My craft beer purchases support the company I work for
Shameless plug: I work for a company that manufactures plastic handles to multipack product. We have handles that several craft breweries in the U.S., Canada, and beyond use for their packaging needs (check it out). Whenever I purchase from our customers, it’s a win-win! It supports their business as well as the company I work for. The value is provided for not just me as the customer, but also to the businesses involved with this industry. It beats blindly purchasing an item that I have no affiliation with.
5. Let’s raise our glasses for I.T. (Innovation and Tastiness)
Did you hear about the yeast Ninkasi Brewing sent up to space, then brought back to Earth to brew their specialty release Ground Control? I took one taste, and just for a minute I felt like Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar (or I guess more-so Sandra Bullock in Gravity). Or, how about the fact that there are several beer tasting festivals dedicated to barrel aged brewing – I’m talking beers aging in wine, whiskey, tequila barrels…you name it. Not to mention, the creativity of mixed ingredients: from chocolate, to fruit, from oats, to Australian hops, from caramel, to herbs. The innovation & creativity is infinite as more craft breweries create collaborations, single barrel batches, special releases, and award winning beers. Now I can’t fail to mention, above all…craft beer is just so dang tasty.
So for all my craft beer lovers out there, what are some of your favorites? For those of you who have other drinks of choice, do you choose value regardless of cost? Let’s raise our glasses in the comments below!