As the world’s third most popular drink, beer is a word and drink familiar to all. It is associated with the culture of many nations and is part of the lifestyle of people from all walks of life. Currently, the beer industry is dominated by well-known multinational brands of Mexico, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and France among many other nations, but there are breweries local to each community in the world where beer is traditionally made – the microbrewery community.
Microbrewery, also known as craft brewery, is the word used to identify the breweries which brew beer on a scale far smaller than that of the multinational brewer companies. The usual amount these local breweries brew is on average no more than fifteen thousand barrels, but the definitions for the microbrewery community typically vary from state to state. For example, the US states the microbrewery community is defined by three main conditions:
• Small – the output is no more than six million barrels per year
• Independent – at least seventy five percent of the ownership of the craft brewery goes to the individuals directly involved in the brewing of the beer. The remaining percentage can be owned by other businesses or members in the industry.
• Traditional – the brewing process and their ingredients for the craft beer have to be traditional and local.
The reason why craft brewery remains to this day despite the fierce competition it has with the giant multinational brewer competition is no doubt the quality of the beers it produces. The best craft beers cannot be matched by the mass produced beers in any aspect, be it quality, alcohol content or ingredients. The craft brewery industry takes rigorous steps to ensure the quality of the beers it brews – it pays minute attention and ensures that the best and freshest ingredients are used in the fermentation processes. Another reason can also be found in the close relationship craft breweries maintain with their customers – it is not rare to see the brewers invite customers to observe the brewing process or even inspect the ingredients used. Furthermore, craft brewers are above all, beer lovers with a passionate drive to brew delicious beer.
The microbrewery community, thanks to its gradual rise to popularity in recent years, has given birth to a number of sub-communities, among which are the nanobrewery community and the brewpubs. The nanobrewery community is, as the name suggests, an even smaller industry than the microbrewery industry – its output is usually in single batches and a brewery often consists of a single brewer. The brewpubs are instead, a merging of breweries and pubs: these are pubs where the beer served is made in the jointly found brewery itself.