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Trying to define craft beer is difficult because beer may be quite subjective, therefore it is dependent on personal experience. The difficulty in obtaining a specific definition is exacerbated by the fact that each beer brand is unique. The term can apply to beer that is not produced by multinational corporate breweries, sometimes known as ""industrial"" brews. It is said that the United States of America has more than 150 beer styles and over 20,000 brands from which to pick. this makes the United States have the highest brands and style than any other market in the whole world (Murray and O'Neill 2012). A working definition helps in protecting craft brewers and what they are building. It also serves the purpose of guiding consumers in the new and emerging market category. The other reason for defining craft beer is to ensure that real craft brewers can charge a fair, reasonable and sustainable price for the masterpiece they produce, and lastly it serves to enable craft beers to grow.
The Brewers Association defines a craft brewer as a small brewery that produces beer in a traditional way. The brewers produce the beer in a non-mechanized way. The Association further states that the brewer is independent. It goes ahead to indicate that it means the annual production of 6 million barrel of beer or less. Beer production is attributed to the rules of altering proprietorship. It is reported that less than a quarter of craft breweries is owned or controlled by an alcohol manufacturer member who is not a craft brewer. The Association states that a craft brewer has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beer whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation (“Brewers Association” 2017). It is worth noting that flavored malt beverages are not beers.
According to Brewdog.com, craft beer is more than just awesomely delicious beer. It goes ahead to say that craft beer is beer brewed by a craft brewer at a craft brewery. The Brewdog.com adopts a European definition of a craft brewery that states a craft brewery is small, authentic, honest and independent. It indicates that by small, it means brewing less than 500,000Hl per annum; authentic implies that the beer is brewed at original gravity without using rice, corn or any other adjuncts to lessen the flavor or costs (“BrewDog” 2017). By the term honest it means that all ingredients are clearly listed on the label of all of their beers, the brewer lists where the beer is brewed and that all of that beer is brewed at craft breweries. Outlining brief history of the craft beer industry might serve as a pointer to what is craft beer and brewer.
According to Craftbeer.com (2017), the beer history dates back to 1800 BC, meaning that the product has been loved and adored by many. It is reported that in 1800 BC there was a Sumerian goddess of beer, the inscription of "Hymn to Ninkasi" is an indicator that men left evidence of brewing activities in early years. In 580 Saint Arnold of Mertz was born, and he encouraged people to drink beer instead of impure water. Purity law was made in 1516 stating that beer should be done only with barley, hops, and water or yeast and wheat. The first extensive book on brewing was written in 1573, and it describes in details about 150 different beers. The author, Heinrich Knaust calls the noble Hamburg beer the queen of all other wheat beers. In 1814, a storage vat containing more than 300000 gallons of porter collapsed knocking down brewery walls and flooding the immediate area. The Horse Shoe Brewery Saga saw eight people die by drowning, injury and poisoning by porter fumes or drunkenness. In between the year 1919 to 1933, the 18th Amendment outlaws the sale of alcohol in the United States. The 18th amendment was ratified on January 16, 1919, and three years later it comes into effect, that is on January 16, 1920. The sale of 3.2 % alcohol beer was permitted in 1933 when President Roosevelt signed the law allowing the sale of the beer. Nine months later, the 21st Amendment was enacted and so repealed the 18th Amendment.
In the year 1944, a British mine-laying ship was converted into a floating brewery to supply beer to British and allied troops during WW2 since it was not practical to ship beer. 13 years later, ‘Cascade Hops’ was released, and so it became a hallmark aroma and flavor for beer from America. In the year 1982, a beer festival was held at Hilton Harvest House in Boulder, Colo. The event is still celebrated, and it features more than 3800 beers. But during its inaugural day, it was serving 35 beers from 20 breweries. Ten years later an astronaut blasted into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery carrying a bag with ‘Cascade Hops’. In 2008, it was declared by the Smithsonian that the best beer in the world is made in the United States.
It is reported that in the year 2012 the craft brewing sales share is 6.5 % by volume and 10.2 % by dollars. In the same year, it is said that over two thousand and three hundred craft breweries operated. In the following year saw craft beer brewers reach 7.8 % volume of the total United States beer market. In 2013, it was reported that craft dollar share of the entire United States of America beer market reached 14.3 %. The number of breweries was 2800 out of this, 99%were small and independent craft brewers. The figure comprised of brewpubs, microbreweries, and regional craft breweries. There was an increase in 11% volume of the total United States beer market by 2014 (Elzinga et al. 2015). The year saw more than 3400 US brewers lead to the increase in retail value from craft brewers to $ 19.6 billion.
In the year 2016, it has been reported that the craft beer rose to 12.3 % volume of the United States beer market. The number of craft beer operators stood at 5300, and the figure is expected to continue increasing (“CraftBeer.com” 2017). According to Bleier et al. (2013), the market demand for craft-brewed beer is rising steadily while small brewers are continuing to crop out to meet the request. It is the contention of the author that some brewers close shops due to stiff competition. They give an example of the year 2010 that witnessed more than 80 brewers close. The author further points out that learning the brewing process is easy but warns that the key to the wealthy brewer is optimizing the use of resources.
A microbrewery is concerned with the production of the small amount of beer. It emphasizes on quality, flavor and brewing technique. The companies rely on the traditional brewing methods, and the term is reserved for the breweries established since the 1970's
Craft Beer Market Segment
There are four unique market segments of craft beer industry; they are contract brewing company, regional craft breweries, brewpubs, and microbreweries.
According to the Brewers Association (2017), a brewpub is a restaurant that sells 25% or more of its beer on site. Beer sold in the restaurant is produced primarily for sale in the restaurant and bar. In most instances, beer is dispensed directly from the brewery's storage tank. It sells beer to go or distributes it to off-site accounts. It has been said that craft brewers are small brewers who are innovative and are capable of interpreting historic styles with unique twists to develop new methods that have never been produced. A craft beer is made with traditional ingredients such as malted barley, and on other occasions, there is an addition of non-tradition ingredients to give it a distinction from other beers. The craft brewers are philanthropic in nature, and they are seen supporting the community through volunteerism and sponsorship of events. To market their products, the brewers have their unique ways of connecting with customers, and they employ individual centered approach when dealing with the clients. They sell beer by use of this clear marketing strategy that takes into account the needs of the customers and their inputs. Integrity is key to the craft brewers, and they should be independent of from substantial interest by a non-craft brewer.
Microbrewery is a brewery that is engaged in the production of fewer than 15000 barrels or 17600 hectoliters of beer per annum whereby most of it is sold off-site. The brewers sell beer to the member of the public through the traditional three-tier system that involves brewer selling to the wholesaler then to the retailer and finally to its ultimate consumer. A two-tier system, according to the Brewers Association (2017), occurs where a brewer acting as a wholesaler and retailer sells beer to the customers. In other instances, the brewer may sell beer directly to the clients through carrying outs or on-site restaurant.
Contracting Brewing Company
It refers to a marketing strategy whereby a company contacts another brewery to produce its beer. A brewery might hire another factory to manufacture beer for it. This contractual engagement vests the brewing company with the mandate to handle marketing, sales and distribution (“Brewers Association” 2017). The producer-brewery is tasked with brewing and packaging.
The Regional Craft Brewery
It refers to a brewery that is capable of producing between 15 000 and 6 000 000 barrels per year. The brewery has a majority of volumes in traditional or innovative beers.
Craft Beer Marketing and Advertising
The Brewers Association has produced advertising and marketing code that aims at ensuring that the brewers maintain high standards and act responsibly. The law states that beer is meant to be enjoyed responsibly and its marketing should be a representative of values, ideals, and integrity of diverse cultures without any form of discrimination. A craft beer brew should maintain corporate social relations. The code requires the advertising and marketing be conducted in a socially acceptable, respective and responsible way. The adverts state that beer should not portray or in any other way promote drinking and driving. A person should not engage in the marketing and sales of beer by depicting situations where beer is consumed excessively. The advertisement should not portray a person as lacking control over his behavior arising from the consumption of beer.
The Association warns it members that advertising and marketing of beer should not in any way promote underage drinking (“Brewers Association” 2017). Marketing of craft beer is guided by the code that bans advertisement that contains sexually explicit, lewd or demeaning brand names and the announcement should only focus on grownups. A manufacturer is required disclose the shelf life of the beer, its ingredients as well as the pace where it was brewed.
Craft is a field that requires a particular skill and knowledge, and it applies to people occupied in small-scale production of goods. The brewers of beer should be skilled and well knowledgeable about the ingredients and brewing techniques. They are also are supposed to be aware of the year when beer was made and when it is ready for consumption. Craft is essential in marketing the product to the customers in different fields and different ages. Beer production is associated to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorship. The brewers claim that craft beer tastes better than other beers that are mass produced and marketed by large enterprises. The brewers take most of their time focusing on the quality of beer rather than on emphasis on the marketing campaign and stock price. Craft beer brewing requires honesty, the brewers use a lot of unique ingredients and they don’t cut any corners. Big beer companies are blamed for trying to make beer as watery as possible, and the ingredients are thoroughly diluted. The marketers point out that there is no need to buy beer that has been stripped of its vital parts.
Craft beer is praised for its alcohol content, and it comes in many shapes and sizes. Their range is between 5-10% drinks by volume (abv), other craft beers can go up to 40% Abv. The clients want strong and tasty beverages, the fact that craft beer is made carefully and takes time, it makes the customers prefer it rather than water beer manufactured by large enterprises. The other marketing gimmick used by the craft beer producers is that beer does not affect a person and they make fewer trips to the bathroom. One does not need to pee after every 10 minutes since a person does not need to drink as many as beers. A client ends up drinking more watery beer that makes the bladder to overflow.
Craft Beer Industry
The health benefits associated with craft beer make its marketing easier and simple. The proprietors of craft beer claim that it has more benefits than red wine due to the nutrients it contains. They say that craft beer contains soluble fiber and a range of antioxidant. Craft beer is also claimed to provide more choice to the consumers. In the United States, there is over 1600 craft breweries offering thousands of delicious, flavorful craft beer. Each and every brewer makes its beers in its unique ways with its individual ingredients.
Craft beer is less expensive than other beers. Craft beer brewers are of the view that the cost per drinking session can be much lower if a person drinks craft beer. Those drinking beer waters have to take 4 to 6 beers, and so this makes the cost of drinking to be expensive. A beer lover drinking a craft beer has to drink fewer beers than beer water. Craft beer is said to contain fewer calories since a beer of 7% abv contains less than 200 calories. Beer is intended to be enjoyed not chugged; therefore, the brewers inform their clients that if they are drinking craft beers, they end up drinking fewer beers but the taste and experience are high. The brewers capitalize on cost-saving to influence the customers, they argue that the cost of craft beer is far much less than that of beer water.
The manufacturer of craft beer offers the clients a chance to meet the people making beer. Visiting a local craft brewery is a fantastic experience since the people that produce beer are the nicest and funniest people, and a person gets a chance to taste a couple of beers in the offer. The craft beer industry is thriving because they claim that beer and good food go hand in hand. When a person pairs craft beer with an excellent cuisine, it brings a new experience. Craft beer is becoming a drink of choice while dining. Cheese party is pointed as another example where art wine comes in hardy, the industry benefits from the fact the craft beer is unique and tasty, and the clients can use it during the dinner. There are a couple of craft beers brewed for different reasons and seasons. A person does not need to drink the same flavor on every occasion throughout the year. Craft beer has a broad range of beers that an individual may choose for every opportunity, be it a night out, meal or any other cool celebration.
There are craft beers from different regions and countries, and the choice depends on the customer (Murray and Kline 2015). The brewers market the beer by informing their clients to stop drinking tasteless beer water; instead, they should start drinking a delicious and flavorful craft beer. They say that if you take craft beer, you are bound to abandon your usual beer water.
Sourcing of Material
The quality of a drink depends on the quality of ingredients used to make it. According to the Brewers Association (2017), a brewer should aim at producing quality craft beer at all times. It is the duty of the brewer to keep beer fresh from light tank to the customer's glass. It is worth noting that beer is very perishable and the quality can diminish from the time it is steeped to the moment of its consumption. The Association advises the customers to consider a couple of things before they purchase the beer such as the beer quality, stability, perception and beer distribution. Quality refers to the complex set of sensory characteristics that includes aroma, taste, and texture. The three indicators are specific to a brand of a beer thus it attracts the consumers who enjoy and have high expectations of beer. Beer is delicate and perishable product and in most cases, is said to be the best before it leaves the premises of the brewer, once it leaves the brewery there is a high likelihood of decreasing in quality. The problem with maintaining the quality of craft beer is that the far you transport it the more difficult it becomes to keep the quality. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that it has the capability of consistently delivering a quality product, which satisfies the needs of the customers.
Stability of beer refers to its physical, microbiological aspects and flavor of the product. The physical aspect of beer affects clarity while microbiological stability is affected by contamination or spoilage. The brewer can control microbiological and physical stability. Flavor balance becomes an issue over time in transportation, distribution, and service. The beer lovers value the quality of beer based on the flavor including its taste and aromatic appearance, color, clarity, and carbonation as well as the foam (Donadini and Porretta 2017). Beer should also have a thorough understanding of the above factors and foam stability. Poor handling of beer can affect its quality.
It has been noted that microbiological stability by wild yeast, molds and a wide variety of bacteria can cause off-flavors thereby souring the beer and gushing (Garofalo et al. 2015). Dirty advertising is a source of bacterial contamination; therefore, a brewer should ensure that the types of equipment used are clean and that high hygienic conditions are maintained at all times since this can prevent beer spoilage by microbiological contamination.
The perception of beer influences the desire of its users to become loyal, if the opinion changes, then the beer lose its market. Beer color and clarity are the first impressions since consumers first drink with their eyes before taking the actual beer. Some clients take the color as a sign of strength, and the beer foam also attracts the customers. It is expected that beer produces an attractive foamy head that lasts a considerable length of time, laces and clings to the side of the glass or bottle. Beer aroma is defined by the process, raw materials, soundness of the beer and style. When a beer is served, one should ensure that it is at the correct serving temperature and carbonation level. The carbonation should be done correctly since it alters tactile sensation, volatility and visual perception of beer. A company using nitrogen in its beer manufacturing process is claimed to have softened the favor of its beers.
The beer flavor is not static, but it is in a constant state of change, it deteriorates once it is packaged. The aging of beer occurs differently to different brands of the craft beer. The brewers determine the shelf life of beer, and they minimize oxygen uptake during brewing and packaging to reduce the oxidative damage. To ensure that beer stays fresh it is essential to keep oxygen levels low, the temperatures and also ensure that there is a fast turnaround time from brewery to glass. Otherwise, the beer becomes stale.
A very stale beer has a honey-like flavor and a decomposed bitterness. A brewer needs to convey the quality and taste expectations for the beer after shipping as well as indicating the set limits on the breakdown age before its consumption. When beer has gone beyond its acceptable profile or its quality has deteriorated it should be withdrawn from the sale. There is need to ensure that the customers are served with fresh craft beer that tastes the way the inventor intended it to be.
Brewing a Craft Beer
The brewer must select the best and high-quality raw materials for beer to give a distinctive aroma, pleasant taste and be appealing to the eyes. The ingredients that a craft beer manufacturer uses to brew the beer includes a properly prepare cereal gains, in most instances barley, corn or rice. The requirements are pure water, hops, and yeast. The manner and method in which the product is used affect the flavor, color, carbonation, alcohol content and other changes to the beer. The brewers source the grains that are carefully stored and handled to promote the highest quality. Mixing of the ingredients depends on the wish of the brewer based on the type of beer they intend to make. Sanitation must be maintained at all times to ensure quality. Water with high levels of lime interferes with fermentation process and discolors the final product. The brewers use yeasts to break down the sugar and reduce it to alcohol through the fermentation process. The machines and equipment utilized in the manufacturing and storage of beer should be clean, and the companies are using stainless steel for packaging the finished product. The brewing process includes malting, preparation of the mash, brewing the wort and fermentation. The others include pasteurizing and packaging.
This involves steeping or soaking ripe barley grains in cold water until they are fully saturated. Changing occur once daily for three consecutive days and the gains are placed in shallow tanks. The process is followed by aerating and stirring the barley causing it to germinate and releases malt diastase. The diastase converts the starch in the grains into sugar for fermentation. Germination takes approximately six days, and the seed is roasted to stop further germination. The exact point when roasting starts and ends affect the flavor and color of the beer. Traditionally, there was a brew master who was handcraft whose task was to take clipboard of a production to the engineer. The process is followed by preparing the mash whereby the malt is crushed using iron rollers and then transferred to a mash tank that is either made of copper or stainless. It mixes malt with warm water until it receives the consistency of porridge. Temperatures are raised steadily to stimulate the reaction of enzymes. What follows is a breakdown of the starch in the grain and converting it into simple sugar. The mash is then allowed to sit undisturbed so that a stable can descend to the bottom of mash tank.
Brewing the Wort
The mash is transferred to a luter tank by drawing the liquid out through the bottom layer of mash solid that acts as a filter. Then there is an addition of hot water on the top of the tank. Meanwhile, the remaining grains are dried and sold as animal feeds. Wort is taken to the new kettle where it is boiled and receive some hops. Adding hops help in improving the bitterness of the beer. Filtering is done after brewing is complete and it is pumped to the fermentation tanks.
Fermentation of beer is conducted in a controlled atmosphere to prevent rogue bacteria from interfering with the yeast. A carefully maintained yeast is added to the wort, and the temperatures of the mixture are reduced to around 15-degree centigrade. The temperatures are essential in that they allow the growth of yeast and consumption of sugar in the wort and bubbles to produce of carbon dioxide. At this stage, the wort has become a beer and is ready for filtering and transfer but maintaining the temperatures of around 6-degree centigrade for around two weeks to 6 months. Pasteurization of beer is aimed at killing the remaining yeasts and prevent further production of alcohol. However, it is worth noting that pasteurization is not used in production of genuine draft beer. The beer is known as ice beer since they are supposed to be kept refrigerated to preserve their flavor and slow the activities of the remaining yeast, craft beer is considered bets in aroma and taste.
A company then engages in the service of packaging the beer in cans, bottles or kegs. All effort is taken to ensure that there is a preservation of natural carbonation. During the process of bottling the beer, there is an addition of carbon dioxide gas to improve the aroma of the beer. Apart from brewing and selling high-quality craft beer, the manufacturers are supposed to observe cleanliness and ensure that the environment is neat and conducive. This is achieved by managing the waste or by-products, other industries can use most of the byproducts of craft beer. For instance, during the malting of the barley, rootlet form on the grain and drop off. Collection and using these drips to feed animals is a method employed to ensure there is no waste. The hops collected from the finished wort can be utilized as a fertilizer while the residual yeast from the brewing process is used as a vitamin B and is used by pharmaceutical companies in making vitamins or drugs or at other times is used as food additive.
A craft beer is defined by the artisanal production (Marongiu et al., 2015). The multinational beer companies do not produce craft beer, it is crafted by small enterprises that rely on the traditional method of production. The brewery focus of the brewers is quality and taste of the beer, and it is not driven by the economics of its output. The growth of beer styles has given rise to hundreds of small brewers. There are over 3500 brands of craft beer on offer today, each brand being distinct from the other due to its flavor, texture color and quality. The history of craft beer indicates that the production of beer is steadily increasing; thank the widening market where consumers are craft beer over the watery beer. The craft beers, in almost all occasion, and seasons, are plausible to use it during dinner or any other festival activities held for celebration. The broadband base gives a person an opportunity to have a taste of different beers, thereby breaking the monotony of having to take one beer all the time.
The proponents of craft beer claim that it is the best beer that a person should take since the cost is pocket-friendly and that a person does not need to visit the bathroom after every ten minutes. They point out that beer offers a person an opportunity to drink less alcohol with high alcohol by volume than that of watered beer. The beer water contains too much beer with a very little alcohol by volume base. Therefore, the craft beer is the best beer in the world that is worth the taste of a customer.
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Murray, A. and Kline, C. (2015). Rural tourism and the craft beer experience: Factors influencing brand loyalty in rural North Carolina, USA. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23(8-9): 1198-1216.
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