Roll out the barrel! 2

What is craft beer & why you should drink it.

Craft beer is all around us. These unique bottles of varying colors of brown ale can be found in high end restaurants and casual pubs in Vinings. They are in liquor stores and grocery stores throughout Smyrna. You can even find a pretty good assortment of craft beer in the walk-in cooler at RaceTrac! However, it was not always this way.

In 1980, according to the Brewers’ Association there were only eight craft brewers in the United States. Today, there are over 3,400 craft brewers. Nearly all of them are small, independent brewers. While these businesses may be small, the earnings they make are definitely not. The craft beer market brought in $19.6 billion dollars in revenue in 2014, a 22 percent jump from the preceding year.

Georgia has a steadily growing number of craft beer breweries. The Brewers Association lists 40 craft breweries currently operating in Georgia. They are producing 280,000+ barrels of craft beer each year. That’s 1.2 gallons of beer for every adult in Georgia 21 years old or older. While that may seem impressive, California has the most craft brewers– 431–and an economic impact on the state to the tune of $6.8 billion dollars! In Georgia, the craft brew industry is $1.1 billion.

What is craft beer?

While hipsters might think the only thing that defines a craft beer is its catchy name and label, there are actually specific conditions for beer to be considered “craft.” According to the Brewers Association, they must be small, independent and traditional:

Small: To be considered a craft beer, the brewery must have an annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less.

Craft beer is all around us. These unique bottles of varying colors of brown ale can be found in high end restaurants and casual pubs in Vinings. They are in liquor stores and grocery stores throughout Smyrna. You can even find a pretty good assortment of craft beer in the walk-in cooler at RaceTrac! However, it was not always this way.Independent: More than 25 percent of a craft brewery cannot be owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not a craft brewer.

Traditional: The brewer must derive the flavor of the majority of its beers from traditional or innovative fermentation processes or brewing ingredients.

Why drink craft beer?

Thanks to the ingenuity, creativity and originality of the 3,000+ craft brewers in the U.S., Americans now have more of a choice than ever when it comes to enjoying a cold one. There are more brands and beer styles to choose from, giving everyone the opportunity to find just the right taste for them.

Robert Smith of Smyrna likes the idea that each craft beer is unique and different.

“There are so many varieties to try and it is exciting that these beers are made in small batches from independent brewers,” says Smith. “I like that these brewers take risks.”

While so much of our lives are manufactured on a grand scale, craft beers are more individualized. They can represent the location of the brewer, an ethnic identity, the season of the year or simply an eclectic flavor combination that will delight the palate. Craft beers have a complexity of ingredients and are treasured for being a versatile beverage that can easily be paired with great food as well as used as a cooking ingredient.