A craft brewery, often called a microbrewery is a small scale beer brewing operation where the emphasis is on creating small batches of unique beers, lagers and ciders.
Microbreweries can place a higher importance on quality ingredients and superior flavor than their large industrial counterparts.
Such beverages have enjoyed a surge in popularity throughout North America and Europe, leading to a growing industry both brewing and serving niche, craft drinks.
In essence, there is nothing new about the craft brewing trend. It’s been going on in Europe for centuries.
Think about traditional monastery brewed ales that are prevalent throughout Europe. Or even family owned wine cellars. There’s really nothing new under the sun.
Contemporary craft brewing takes this small scale approach and applies it to the modern market.
Microbreweries and their smaller counterparts, nanobreweries are doing what has been done for centuries – simply commercializing the small scale approach to artisan alcohol production.
Modern Brewing And Marketing
At it’s very basic level, brewing a large scale commercial beer and a small artisan beer is the same. Water, barley, hops and yeast are combined to create beer. How this is done though is where the difference lies.
The big breweries compete in the market on price and rely on advertising to drive their sales.
Microbreweries on the other hand have the freedom to market their products on the quality of ingredients and flavor, and often on the techniques involved in creating a unique brew. They do not need to compete on the basis of cost as this is not what is driving their sales.
Thus diversity and originality epitomize the craft brewing scene.
Without the constraints of consistency, small batches of ever changing brews allow small operations to gain traction among a growing audience of turned on drinkers.
The brewpub is a newer concept. A combination of two words, brewery and pub (or public house), a brewpub is a concept growing in popularity throughout North America.
Brewpubs are public houses that create their own craft beers on site.
Reduced alcohol duty and lower overheads make these attractive business opportunities and brewpubs are a fast growing and changing scene.
It is usual for a brewpub to offer restaurant services as well.
Europe And America
In Europe, many countries are seeing a resurgence in their brewing heritage, as many microbreweries emulate historical styles that were traditionally brewed in the region.
The Baltic states, Germany and the UK have seen the greatest rise in microbreweries, whilst significant developments have been made in the market in other European countries from Spain all the way through to Turkey.
North America has a very healthy market share, with north western states having the highest number of microbreweries per capita in the US.
Individual state laws, and a change in the federal laws governing small scale alcohol production have led to the US leading the craft brewing and microbrewery scene in the West.
The Asian Market
Unsurprisingly, the microbrewery market in Asia is huge.
China, India and Japan have growing scenes and huge available markets. Smaller Asian states are catching up, and we should expect to see the trend continuing.
Micro brewing and the craft beer industry is becoming very popular and we should see the popularity of such beverages increase in the near future.
A willingness of consumers to spend money on quality over quantity, ongoing deregulation of the industry, and the growth of the restaurant industry will all fuel the craft beer scene in the coming years.