Friday, February 18, 2011

Quiet Riot: Our Revolution: Viva La Craft Beer

Friday, the beacon of light to beer drinkers across the 
world.  The notion that friday is rolling around, and the 
possibility to explore new and exciting brews that our great 
liquid revolution has to offer lays before us.  These pints 
of perfection possibly rival any great work of art offered
up by the greats, Warhol, Beethoven and Da Vinci.  The 
difference with these works of art is that they are 
temporary installations.   The best part is that you are 
able to enjoy different masterpieces again and again with 
only the time it takes your local sud slinger to provide it.  
The challenge is not to get stuck in old habits and challenge ourselves to break boundaries and push ourselves 
to trying something new.  
The three major beer brands in the US—Budweiser, Miller and 
Coors take a staggering 78 percent market share.  This only 
leaves 22 percent to the rest of the brewers.  Of that left-
over 22 percent, craft beers made up just 4.3 percent of 
U.S. beer sales volume in 2009, according to the Boulder, 
Colo.-based Brewers Association.   These numbers are 
staggering considering that the american beer market is 
approximately $101 billion.  78 percent of this 101 billion >
ends up in the hands of the big three breweries, Budweiser, 
Miller and Coors. And in my opinion what they serve up meets 
the classification of beer, but  to be perfectly honest I 
hesitate to even call them breweries at all.  They should be 
referred to as corporations that literally pump product out 
with no regard to the art of it, dollars and cents are all 
that matter at the end of the day.  It actually makes me 
want to "stand up and shout"  (in the great words of Mark 
Wahlberg in the movie Rock Star).  I feel like all the things that beer stands for has been warped by marketing and 
the push for the mighty dollar.  Beer has deep history with 
humanity.  We have relied on it to make water sources safe, 
forms of currency, and created all sorts of events just so 
we could consume beer.  It is not all about the silver 
bullet, draft horses and being the champaign of beers.  When 
did we lose a sight of quality over quantity.  I think it is 
up to our generation to take a step back and slow things 
down a little.  Bigger is not always better.  Love and care 
should be what we strive for in every batch of beer.  When a 
brewer creates a tasty brew, and he or she watches that 
first pint being consumed by someone, all we should see is a 
huge smile from that brewer in anticipation of the reaction.  
I don't like to push one brewery over another, because this 
is not what this blog is about, but I think a very good 
example of the kind of brewers I am looking for is Sam Calagione, owner of Dogfish Head Brewery.  I use him as 
an example because I was able to watch him in Brewmasters 
and really see his zeal and love for the industry.  I have 
also read countless articles on him and his journey through 
the craft beer world. Sam receives a gold star for his&nbp;
commitment to pushing the boundaries of the beer industry. I 
know there are countless brewery owners and consumers who 
share his enthusiasm, without this community, craft beer 
would not exist.  So, to all of the countless people out 
there I say thank you for not laying down and letting others 
tell you what beer is or should be.
If options are what you are worried about, there are over 
1,500 craft breweries operating in the US.  Every state 
offers at least one, as well as the fact that many craft 
brewery beers are distributed nationally.  This being said, 
even though we are already in the midst of a quiet riot, our 
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liquid revolution, we still need to push ourselves not to 
settle.  Meaning, don't stop when you find the one brand of 
craft beer that you like.  Try others, make the brewers be 
innovative and show them that we are not mindless propaganda 
following zombies.  I promise you will like what you find.  

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