Contributor Perzell Brewing (@perzellbrewing )
First off, if you know me, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you know that I am an avid homebrewer. I love crafting a good beer, tasting it for the first time, and watching others enjoy something I made from scratch. That is why this is going to be a very difficult topic to discuss as I am obviously biased.
Craft Beer on the Rise
I don’t think it is any big secret. Craft beer has been on the rise since the 1980’s. Beer drinkers in the United States have started to shun the “big beer” concept and have instead decided to spend their consumer dollars on small, hand crafted beers. This means that distributors and shops across the nation are starting to carry more and more craft beer and people who didn’t have access to smaller scale production beers are now getting the opportunity to try a greater variety of beers.
On October 14, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337, which contained an amendment sponsored by Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA) creating an exemption from taxation of beer brewed at home for personal or family use. This exemption went into effect on February 1, 1979, making homebrewing legal on a federal level in the U.S.
This was the beginning of the craft beer revolution. After this law was passed brewers like Jim Koch (Samuel Adams) and Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada) began to brew beer which sparked a nationwide growth over the next 30+ years and started the Craft Beer revolution. But even with the rapid rise of craft beer, the only way for some to enjoy a handcrafted beer was to craft it themselves. This is why homebrewing quickly became so popular and widespread.
So with the rise of craft beer and more distributors offering a wider selection of craft beer, is homebrewing relevant anymore?
Yes, homebrewing is still relevant. Why? Well because it is. Oh, you need further explanation? I guess that is fair.
Homebrewing is still relevant for many reasons even with the rise of Craft Beer. The first reason would be craft beer itself. Many nano breweries, micro breweries, and brew pubs have formed from none other than homebrewers. Without individuals brewing their beer, the craft beer movement might start to see a decline because fewer brewers will be around to fill the positions that are opening due to big Craft Beer. Another reason why homebrewing is still relevant is research and design. Experimenting for breweries can be quite expensive. Throwing out a 15 gallon batch of chocolate coffee mango coconut milk stout isn’t a problem for a homebrewer because it really didn’t cost that much for the ingredients, but for a brewery that could be a huge loss. Homebrewers are always thinking of new styles, flavors, methods, and processes. If you didn’t have the homebrewing community, then commercial brewers would have to spend more money on development and that in turn would make craft beer even more costly for consumers. My last argument is longevity. When I homebrew, I enlist the of friends, family, and even my children. What does this do? It turns others on to homebrewing and more importantly to Craft Beer. That friend or family member helping you brew enjoys one of your beers. The die is cast. You may have just converted someone to a Craft Beer drinker. My sons may only get sips of wort or even of a finished brew, but they have a great time brewing with me. I hope the experience they have with homebrewing ensures that they never settle for subpar beer (when the get old enough). Unwittingly, homebrewers are ensuring that current and future generations will reach for a hand crafted beer.
So to answer the question, YES, homebrewing it still relevant. Now again, I am completely biased, but I hope this article helps convert some of you who are on the fence about brewing. We would love to hear from you, so feel free to comment or discuss. Cheers!
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