The Future of Craft Beer
A stroll through the beer section in most American grocery stores or neighborhood bodegas will quickly reveal that the majority of beers we see are not exactly artisan creations. Instead, most beers on the market are mass-produced, bottled, and distributed by international beverage conglomerates (or “macrobreweries”). Yet alongside these industrial brews, we find that there is a distinct alternative in the form of locally-made craft beers. Like the macros, these brews are made with your typical beer ingredients — malts, hops, yeast, water — but the difference is in their commitment to quality over quantity.
For the past couple decades, new craft beers have been gaining traction in America thanks to their innovative flavors and unique brewing techniques. These beers range from bitter, hoppy India Pale Ales to boozy, viscous bourbon barrel-aged stouts. As more people began to discover the joys of these beers, demand for them continued to grow.
Despite this seemingly unstoppable demand, the future of the craft brewery is not without its challenges. For one, the soaring popularity of these drinks has led to the emergence of what is commonly called a “megabrewery” — a large brewery that produces over 6 million barrels of beer per year. This number is high enough to rival the total output of some of the country’s most popular craft breweries.