When you head to the local bar, supermarket or liquor store chances are, you’ll often see a myriad of choices for consumption that generally fall into two main categories — “commercial” beer (think Steinlager, DB Export, Mac’s) or “craft” beer (think basically everything that isn’t sold boxed by the dozen). No matter what style you choose, the awesomeness comes from the fact that you have a choice, as for most of our history beer choices weren’t nearly as diverse.
Since the rise of large, commercial breweries, quality was synonymous with consistency. Day in and day out, beer makers wanted their brews to taste the same, allowing consumers to know exactly what they were getting every time they strolled to the check-out. Since the rise of the craft beer movement, however, beer drinkers have become more adventurous. Now when we head out for a brew, we’re likely more interested in treating our palette to something unique rather than more of the same.
To put the rise of craft beer in perspective, consider these statistics revealed by the ANZ research report entitled New Zealand Craft Beer Insights
Sales of Craft Beer are up 35% in the past year
Craft Beer sales now account for 15% of the total Beer sales
The appetite for craft beers is not only confined to New Zealand either, with 18 per cent growth in the craft beer industry in the USA each year for the last two years – with the most popular category being India Pale Ale at 23 per cent of total brands.
This is hardly surprising as the US could lay claim to being the legitimate home of brewing and craft brewing. The Industry there begun to boom in the 1970’s when brewers, fed up with the predominant beer of the time; light coloured low bitterness lagers, started to make different styles of beer.
According to the Brewers Association of America, the number of craft brewers in the US has gone from eight in 1980, to 537 in 1994, to over 2,800 in 2013. There are now more than 1,500 breweries open or in development in the U.S.
Needless to say, craft brewing is equally growing in this country at a rapid pace. This is great news for those of us who like options when we drink. Craft Brewers have succeeded in establishing high levels of quality, consistency, and innovation, expanding the minds of the beer consumers and creating a diverse range of flavours for craft beer shoppers to experiment. We are truly experiencing a beer drinkers revolution and there is no better time or place to drink beer than right now.
At WilliamsWarn, we tip our glasses to all the other like-minded, pioneering, Kiwi entrepreneurs, who have breathed life back into the brewing industry and introduced an explosion of flavour to our homes to be shared and enjoyed with friends and family.
Recently, a trend has caught on: choosing beers by season and with winter just around the corner, we’re going to take a closer look at this latest trend in “Part 2: What Makes a Truly Great Seasonal Beer” of this 3 blog series to help you find the beer style that you’re most likely to enjoy.