A couple of years ago, in addition to the standard lager and stout in pubs, you could try a maximum of cherry varieties. At this point, the range of” originality ” was exhausted. Today, what is happening is what American and European brewers loudly call the renaissance, there is no exaggeration in their words. The situation in the beer market can be compared to the industrial revolution. But to talk about the subject more specifically, you need to give the term a definition.
Craft beer (Craft beer) – this is any beer brewed not on an industrial scale, but in a small beer production, often according to their own recipes for personal use and creative self-realization. Many well-known craft brewers today started with their own kitchens or sheds with equipment installed there. Often, people do not even open private breweries, but rent ready-made workshops, where they brew beer according to author’s recipes and traditional technologies.
There is no official translation into Russian of this phenomenon yet. In different sources, you can find both direct transliteration (“craft “beer), and various correspondences (starting from” craft “and ending with”homemade”). In America, there are clear signs of craft production, introduced by the American Brewers Association:
1. A small brewery that produces no more than 6 million barrels (703 million liters) of beer per year. Obviously, the larger the production, the higher the risks of experiments – if a new variety is not to the taste of the consumer, with mass production, the losses will be very large. One of the main principles of crafting is the introduction of new recipes and original flavors, so this requirement is dictated by pure logic and common sense.
2. Independence from external investors and / or shareholders. At least 75% of the brewery’s capital should be at its absolute disposal, if outside influences exceed 25%, the company’s management can no longer approach the brewing process creatively, because it is forced to focus on financial criteria. For craft production, this is unacceptable.
3. Following the traditions of brewing. The basis of the author’s beer should be malt, in addition, brewers are required to work on complicating the taste, and not reducing the cost and cost of the drink.
History of craft beer
To understand where the legs of the phenomenon itself” grow ” from, you need to go back to the distant past. The first mention of beer is found in written sources dating back to the XX century BC, and no one knows how many centuries it was brewed before that. It is clear that over the past millennia, humanity has reached unprecedented heights in the brewing art, and would like to enjoy the fruits of the labors of their ancestors.
However, the economic crisis of the early twentieth century (the” Great Depression”) forced a rethink of the approach to consumer culture. Mass production has become more profitable for the state. With the help of advertising and other means of persuasion, public taste led to a certain average value, small breweries closed, and large ones began to produce some abstract lager, without features and specifications. You could come to a bar, ask for just a “beer” and get something plus or minus the expected color, taste and consistency, no variety was observed in the market.
The first steps to change the situation began to occur in the 1960s. It was then that Fritz Maytag (Fritz Maytag) opened a small brewery Anchor Brewing, which began to produce beer according to old recipes that were in use even before the introduction of Prohibition in the United States. In 1976, New Albion Brewery, owned by Jack McAuliffe, entered the market. This tiny “garage” production produced both classic European beers and original drinks according to the author’s recipe.
In 1978, some US states legalized home brewing (this process was finally completed only in 2013), and microbreweries began to grow by leaps and bounds.