Craft beer—that is, beer produced in relatively small quantities by an independent brewery—has enjoyed an amazing surge in popularity over the past several decades, and the upward trend continues at a healthy clip.
The sustained growth in the popularity of craft beers comes when major mass-market brewers are seeing a decline in revenues, and when per capita beer consumption is actually decreasing in the United States.
The Craft Beer Revival in the U.S.
While the explosion in craft breweries across the country may seem like a very new thing, it’s interesting to consider that—like the “modern” trend toward locally sourced food—this is closer to a throwback kind of situation. After all, before Prohibition, many American towns and villages had their own breweries, thoroughly small-scale in scope. Even the creativity with which modern craft brewers scheme up their latest offerings is in keeping with the vast spread of historical beer-making techniques, which incorporated plenty of interesting botanical ingredients.
The Brewers Association notes that, while beer volume sales in the U.S. overall declined by about 1% in 2018, craft brewery sales increased by 4% and now account for 13.2% of the total domestic beer market.
This fascinating Atlantic article on the growth of craft beer—well worth reading—suggests it’s due to a variety of factors, most obviously a general pivot toward other parts of the beer spectrum from the basic light lager style of long-standing popularity but also the 1978 legalization of home-brewing in the U.S. and an increase in the number of states allowing brewers of a certain size to sell their product directly to customers in taprooms.
Craft Beer in Florida: Going Strong
While the American West and West Coast definitely kickstarted the modern craft-beer movement in the U.S., the zest for microbreweries and nanobreweries has spread far and wide in the country at this point, and the Sunshine State most definitely holds its own in the department.
A recent Thrillist ranking of the 50 states by their craft-beer credentials/caliber placed Florida at No. 14, name-checking such lauded beermakers as Cigar City, Angry Chair, and J Wakefield Brewing in its entry. There’s some impressive complexity and diversity being represented by Florida’s craft brewers, and here at V&E Restaurant Group we’re mighty glad to see it!
Managing as we do a range of Florida restaurants that proudly serve top-quality beer, we’re happy that independent brewers who are exploring the full range of possibilities for this time-honored beverage are getting the spotlight they deserve.