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What is Craft Beer?

04 Oct 2021
What is Craft Beer?
The famous author of Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, wrote that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in a specific task. Now, does that mean that you have to drink 10,000mls or 10,000 cans of beer to be a ‘beer expert’? Or comb through 10,000 pages of research to claim that title? We summarise all of that for you in less than 1000 words, so you can be a ‘beer expert’ yourself (or at least a little less clueless than before).

For the next few blog entries, we’ll be embarking on a journey of discovery to learn more about beer—or more specifically, craft beer. In answering the list of frequently-asked questions and debunking myths, we begin with the most commonly-asked question of all time: what exactly is craft beer?

Craft beer has often been defined as beer made with love in a traditional and non-mechanised manner by way of a small-scale, independent brewery that produces a small output each year. These independent breweries are usually focused on ‘crafting’ high-quality beers by experimenting with new ingredients which result in beers with an array of flavour profiles and styles.

Image credit: Elevate

How did this all begin? The modern American craft beer movement started in the mid-1960s, when a man named Fritz Maytag bought a majority stake in the Anchor Brewing Company and began improving the quality of its beer, as well as reintroducing lost beer styles. This sparked a home-brewing revolution in America that led to the establishment of the New Albion Brewery by Jack McAuliffe. After his stint in the military, Jack sought to bring home the flavour of beers he had tasted during his service in Scotland. Though his company only lasted 6 years, it inspired dozens of other microbreweries and home brewers to start crafting their brews with the goal of producing high-quality beers with robust flavors.

Image credit: SANFRAN PSYCHO

So, does this mean 'craft' mean beer is more expensive for all of us?

Unfortunately, yes. Due to the small scale of production in microbreweries, the price of craft beer tends to be higher than that seen from commercially available brands, and also ranges greatly with its available supply. However, you do get what you pay for, because the small production scale also means more focus and emphasis on crafting quality beers with a broader range of flavours. This also allows breweries the opportunity to increase the alcoholic content, resulting in beverages that contain alcohol percentages between 7%-40% ABV (Alcohol by Volume). That’s more beer for your buck!

Stick around for the next entry, where we’ll delve deeper into craft beer and learn more about the different types of craft beer.