This Type of Beer Is Seeing a Major Surge In Popularity Right Now
In the late 1990s, craft beer became seen as less of a fad as microbreweries began dominating the alcohol scene with their creative flavors and unlikely combinations. By 2010, craft beer grew to total over 20% of America's total beer sales, with breweries becoming local destination points for tasting the flavor of neighborhoods. Microbeer was a booming industry and had achieved cult-like status among drinkers. Everyone had a local taproom on their street and everyone had a favorite style. Local grocery stores even began to have large aisles filled with craft beer selections. Then, of course, the pandemic happened.
Small, local craft brewers were hit hard during COVID-19, mostly due to dropped sales from closed taprooms, distribution partnerships with bars and restaurants stagnating, and canceled city-wide events, such as St. Patrick's Day. In fact, during the first year of the pandemic, the Brewers Association reported that most breweries have seen sales plummet by at least 70%. Rest assured, though, that this wouldn't be the case for long.
Such a huge blow was hard for local brewers, many of whom have had to close their doors permanently. It seems, however, for those that survived, the pandemic cloud has finally passed over. Recently, the Brewers Association has reported figures that indicate the macro-trend of craft beer has returned to pre-pandemic growth. The report shows that small and independent breweries collectively produced almost 25 million barrels of beer, gaining an incredible 8% growth. Craft brewers also provided more than 172,643 jobs, a 25% increase from 2020, according to Beverage Daily.
So how did this translate to a revamped popularity? Craft beer has been able to bring back interest by marketing new, limited-time releases that reflect consumers' evolving tastes and piquing interest. Oskar Blues has recently released its Death By Flapjacks English porter, brewed with maple syrup, featuring a taste reminiscent of breakfast food. Additionally, Stone Brewery just released a low-calorie, low-carb, and low-alcohol-by-volume IPA aimed at the emergence of a health-conscious drinking movement.
Now that breweries have once again opened their doors, it seems customers have returned in increasing numbers, looking for new and exciting offerings to try in their local taprooms. Tourists are traveling as well, looking to sample some of what unfamiliar cities have to offer in the craft realm. Shelves are once again stocked at grocery stores, who had seen empty spaces where their craft beer used to be. As the haze of the pandemic clears, it seems like the hiatus wasn't enough to push craft beer out of the scene, proving the movement isn't a persisting trend but a style that's here to stay.
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