Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson
write about craft beer and craft brewing, and know quite a few
people who brew and drink craft beer. Months go by for me when I do
not really think about the large, industrial breweries unless they
are buying up some of the smaller craft breweries.
I have tried wine and other types of
alcohol, but I do not really think about them these days. My time
and attention is focused on craft beer and breweries.
Then I saw one of these reports about beer
volume sales. According to
what I saw, total beer volume sales in the United States declined
1.2 % during the early days of 2017. Volume sales of craft beer did
increase, but only by 1.6%, during the same period of time.
The information got me wondering. I may be a
little biased, but it got me asking Why doesn’t everyone drink craft
beer? Has everyone actually tried tasting craft beer? Are people
intimidated or afraid? What are the obstacles? Who would not love a
great hand-crafted brew right now? So I did a little non-scientific,
First of all, there are people who do not
drink alcohol at all. I respect that, whether for philosophical,
personal, or chemical-dependency issues. It is not as if everyone is
required to drink alcohol.
Second, there are people who do not really
think that much about what they drink. They may have been raised by
people who were Miller or Budweiser fans and they inherited their
It is not surprising that the main large,
industrial brewery operations are parts of even larger corporations.
These companies spend much more on advertising than smaller craft
breweries do. It intrigues me these well-funded advertising efforts
rarely talk about how industrial beers taste, other than an
occasional “tastes great.”
The larger brewing operations also tend to
control the paths of distribution, which is why craft beer can be
harder to find than industrial beers. It takes people more effort to
find and explore beers produced by craft breweries.
Some people may have preconceptions about
what beer is and what it tastes like. Beer is apparently not a part
of their lives they want to spend much time thinking about and they
usually continue to drink what they are comfortable drinking.
There are some people who spend time
thinking about what they drink and who prefer to drink things other
than beer. Again, it is not as if everyone is required to drink
People often tend to underestimate the
culture and history of brewing and beer drinking. There are
though, strong cultural and historic reasons for people to at least
try tasting a craft beer.
I explored some of the ways home- and
hand-crafted beer has shaped American
history a couple of months
ago. Beer has influenced the history of civilization in even more
varied ways, including its contributions to monastic life. Many of
the distinctions between people who drink beer and those who prefer
other alcoholic beverages are interpreted as class differences. One
of the benefits of craft beer is it tends to erase those
There are people who feel a little
intimidated by trying to find and enter a craft brewery tasting room
for the first time. Some of them can be challenging to find. There
tends to be a set of expectations which establishes the culture of
Yes, some breweries and tasting rooms are
located in fairly out-of-the-way places. Many craft
breweries operate on the lowest overhead they can find, which
affects where they set up shop. I enjoy the challenge, and Siri has
proven to be good at finding tasting rooms.
It can be intimidating to walk into a place
you have never visited before when you are exploring craft
breweries. I find it helps to tell the person at the bar you are
new, you are trying to learn about their brewery, and what kinds of
beer you like to taste. Asking questions is a great way to find out
You could always tell them you want to help
increase craft beer volume sales this month.
It is a great month to try something new.
Greg Richardson is a leadership and
organizational coach, and a spiritual life mentor, in Pasadena,
California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and
monks and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive,
and university professor. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and
he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk.
You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com.