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What is Craft Beer?

Craft Beer is a term that is used quite often and you may have heard it while at a bar, restaurant or even from a bottle shop. But what is it exactly?

The Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado defines it as “beer made by a small, independent brewery that is independently owned and operated.”

That definition gives the industry some level of autonomy to innovate, take risks and create unique flavors. The artisanal aspect of craft beer also means that there is room for some personal interpretation, which is important to many drinkers. For example, some breweries still uphold Reinheitsgebot, the German purity law that says only water, malted barley, hops and yeast can be used in making beer. Others go off script by brewing with a medley of wild ingredients or inventing new equipment to push flavors forward.

Craft beers are generally higher in polyphenols, which is good for health (Jiménez-Marcos et al., 2017). Polyphenols act as a probiotic and boost gut microbiota. They are also linked to a healthier weight and lower risk of coronary artery disease.

Craft beer is a growing and thriving market segment that has challenged large alcohol conglomerates like AB InBev and MillerCoors for refrigerator space in consumer grocery stores. But antiquated regulations that stem from the temperance movement still stifle innovation and hamper growth, while allowing macro breweries to snap up artisanal breweries with relative ease.

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