An American Craft
Americans are defined by independence and innovation. Therefore it’s no surprise that our national interest in craft beers has grown into a full-blown love affair.
According to the Brewers Association, “The number of craft brewers has gone from 8 in 1980 to 537 in 1994 to 1,501 in 2008.” Wow! We love our suds here in the U.S.A. And thanks to the growth of the craft brewing industry, our trips to the grocery store and travels across the country now lead us on more tasteful adventures.
In the 1980s craft brewing established its foundation based on European brewing traditions from Belgium, Germany and England. American flavors and tastes soon began to emerge. Craft brewers’ imaginations and skills expanded the palates of beer drinkers, inviting them to explore a larger variety of high quality American products. Probably the most famous of these microbrewers was the Boston Beer Company, creator of the Samuel Adams franchise.
How does one earn the title of “craft brewer?” Craftbeer.com shared the Brewers Association’s definition as, “An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of beer less than 2 million barrels. Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.”
There are nearly 1,500 craft breweries in the United States. Craft beers, brewpubs and microbreweries can make traveling to different regions of our country more personal, cultural and, obviously, more fun. Travelers can build a full itinerary around activities like brewery tours and beer festivals. From north, south, east and west, a variety of Cherokee Distributing Company suppliers offer opportunities for a look behind the scenes:
- Travel up north to visit Harpoon Brewery for tastings and tours in Boston. http://www.harpoonbrewery.com
- Down south stop by Abita Beer in Covington, La., where brewery tours are offered Tuesday-Saturday. http://www.abita.com
- Over to the east, Carolina Brewing Company in Holly Springs, N.C., gives brewery tours by reservation. http://www.carolinabrew.com
- Out west, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, Calif., is open seven days a week for guided and self-guided tours. http://www.sierranevada.com
These are just a few suggestions. Check out our supplier list to find more craft brewers and brewery tours.
In addition to tours, beer festivals are popping up around the country, offering one day to full weekends of nirvana for beer aficionados. The Great American Beer Festival, Sept. 16-18 in Denver, will bring together over 1,900 beers and close to 50,000 guests. Locally, Knoxville’s Brewers’ Jam was a sell-out in 2009. If you want to catch it in October 2010 check out http://www.knoxvillebrewersjam.com, where they should be posting information soon.
Craft beers offered by Cherokee Distributing Company range from light to dark, year-round to seasonal and always include something new and interesting. Explore our brands page at www.cherokeedistributing.com to get a taste of our worldwide network of flavor and microbrew products. With so many unique options available, it’s a great time to be a beer lover!