There are over 3,400 craft breweries in America, and hundreds more popping up across the country every year. Because of this, the observance of American Craft Beer Week is more exciting than ever. This annual celebration, which was assembled by The Brewers Association, provides craft brewers with the opportunity to showcase their brews and talk about their contributions to their communities. Ultimately, American Craft Beer Week is a time set aside to recognize craft beer lovers and the advancing beer culture of America.
History of Craft Beer Week
Prior to 2006, The Brewers Association recognized American Beer Month, typically in July. In May of 2006, the organization decided to condense their efforts into a week's worth of activities and events, all of which would take place before the summer began. American Craft Beer Week, which has taken place every May since then, was organized with the purpose of allowing craft brewers to reach how to the members of their community, as well as to fellow craft brewers around the country. Memorialized in all 50 states, American Craft Beer Week allows craft breweries, retailers, and craft beer lovers alike to celebrate the culture and tradition surrounding craft beer. Since its institution, American Craft Beer Week has been the largest national effort to recognize the diversity and culture of craft beer.
In the last decade, American Craft Beer Week has effectively raised interest and awareness of this exciting industry. In fact, since 2006, Google searches for craft beer have spiked in May, as more people are educated on what sets craft beer apart.
Support Craft Beer in your Area
This year, American Craft Beer Week will be recognized May 11-17. During this time, communities across the country will be hosting events such as home brewing competitions, festivals, brewery tours, beer tastings, and more. Be sure to ask your bartender or server for the featured craft beers while you are out for American Craft Beer Week.
The Craft Beer Difference
While craft beers are gaining popularity because of their innovation, quirky labels, and specialty flavors, what sets them apart from mass-produced beer is more significant. For starters, craft beers come from small, independently owned breweries. According to Craft Beer, these breweries produce no more than 6 million barrels of beer per year. In fact, many of these breweries, also known as microbreweries, produce as few as 2 million barrels per year. In addition to these small breweries, many local pubs create their own artisan beers that are unique to their establishment.
Craft beers also come from breweries that are independent, meaning that less than a quarter of their brewery is owned or controlled by a member of the beer industry that is not a craft brewer.
Finally, craft beer stays true to the tradition of beer culture, meaning that the brewer uses tried-and-true methods of brewing beer, with premium, traditional ingredients. Craft breweries must also have either an all-malt flagship beer, or a minimum of 50% of its volume either in malt beers or beers that use adjuncts to heighten their flavor.
Not unlike wine, craft beer is heavily influenced by the region in which it was created, the style and duration of its fermentation process, and the ingredients it contains. The color, flavor, aroma, carbonation, and clarity vary widely, and craft beers should be properly paired with your cuisine to ensure that the flavors are complementary. Additionally, different types of beer should be served in different glasses to ensure that you are able to enjoy their unique flavor profiles.
Craft Industry Growth
In 2014, the craft beer industry enjoyed a surge of growth. Craft brewers produced 22.2 million barrels of beer. While the total beer market rose by 0.5% in 2014, craft beer saw an 18% rise in volume. The retail dollar value of craft beer made up nearly 20% of the beer industry.
In addition to this, the number of operating craft breweries in the U.S. grew by 19%. 615 new breweries opened in 2014, and only 46 breweries were closed. Ultimately, this growth provided over 115,000 jobs nationwide.
At Bernick's, we have a passion for craft beer. With something for everyone, we're constantly on the lookout for the latest industry trends. As experts in the business, we have a profound understanding of the ins and outs of craft brewing. With a craft beer expert at each Bernick's location, you can be confident that we provide outstanding customer service.