The History of Craft Beer

The History of Craft Beer

Have you ever felt like a little bit of “Do It Yourself”? No, we aren’t talking about building furniture, this is all about craft beer. Craft beer is a bit of a versatile title these days, but basically, it means any beer not made by a traditional larger brewery.

This means it could be made by a small independent brewery or simply one man in his shed. Usually, though these days craft beer means beers produced by smaller, independent breweries. Craft beer at least as we know it now only dates back to the 1970s in the UK.

Interestingly the term craft beer came around during this time in both the UK and USA. Some of the first microbreweries making their own craft beers were the Selby Brewery in 1972. And the Litchborough Brewery in 1974.

Craft beers were designed to offer something unique and more creative from the regular beers produced by the larger big-name manufacturers. Brands like Heineken (to give just one example) had quite the Monopoly in the UK during the 70s and 80s.

This caused the beer market to stagnate for some and many beer drinkers wanted to try something new and exciting. This is what led to the boom in craft beer as smaller breweries and individuals created their own craft beers to offer something new and different.

The rise in craft beers during this time is what led to the popularity of IPAs. IPAs or Indian Pale Ales were the result of sailors who couldn’t create their own beers in India due to the hot climate. Beer also likely couldn’t survive the journey from the UK at this time either.

Breweries combatted this issue by adding more hobs to their beers which helped give it a much longer lifespan. This, in turn, led to the creation of IPAs which is often the craft beer of choice in the UK. Nowadays the craft beer scene is more popular than ever, and some brewers have even gone on to launch massive breweries.

The Appeal of Craft Beer

While craft beers are by design more limited than the beers of big-name brands some of them have become incredibly popular. This has led to the rise of a growing craft beer scene in the UK. Brewpub establishments then formed which were pubs that created and served their own craft beers onsite.

Some of these pubs even specialised in specific kinds of craft beverages. A microbrewery that was popular enough could therefore create its own brewpub to serve drinks. In 2014 the Guardian newspaper named Bristol as one of the most popular craft beer cities in the UK.

It had 10 brewpubs and a variety of microbreweries. The East of London is also growing to be a very popular location for craft beer as well. But why is craft beer so popular? Beer is an incredibly versatile drink but many of the leading brands do play it safe.

Flavours that are more unusual and distinct are generally only created for limited times. And new flavours/ types that don’t prove popular in a short timeframe will often be discontinued. This means that finding a beer that offers something different and unique from a leading brand can be difficult.

This is why craft beers have proven to be so popular because they filled a niche that leading brands didn’t. Craft beers could be experimental and different, with a beverage as diverse as beer many different flavours can be crafted.

So, its easy to see why there is a growing demand in craft beers. Craft beers really harness beer in a new and interesting way. Many people think off beer as a boring or dull beverage, but it is full of potential for something more exotic and exciting. 

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