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Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Artisan Revolution

Few things give me as much hope for the future as microbreweries.  They truly are an amazing thing when you stop to think about it.  There hundreds upon hundreds of different microbreweries in the U.S. all headed by an artisan.  And this makes up less than 10% of the U.S. beer market.  These artisan brewers have carved their own niche, pushing aside powerful marketing and dominated markets to help promote something that they truly believe in.
Now some people would call a brewer an artist.  I disagree, to me a brewer is much more than an artist, they are an artisan.  Art is a lecture, artisan crafts are a conversation.  Art seeks to create something that is beautiful and causes introspection.  Artisan crafts do the same, but strive to make things that are useful as well as beautiful, that cause introspection as well as joy.  Artist are expected to ignore the market place with their art, Artisans must find a way to express themselves and still make a living. 
It is amazing to see so many different breweries that can express the personalities of the brewers themselves.  Every beer that is tried in a microbrewery will pertain in some way to the brewers vision of beer.  While some may be favorites, and some may be not so favorites, always the brewer is seeking to engage the patrons in conversation, on beer, on flavor, on seasons, and on locality.  All of these things go through a brewers mind when they create beer.  Microbreweries are one of the bright spots in a world that seems to be dominated by large multi-national corporations.  Many Micros are locally owned, especially brewpubs.  These take into account local culture and local conventions, while still pushing forward with wonderful ingredients and an expression of world beer culture. 
It doesn't matter what you call yourself.  If you believe that the world would look brighter if there were more small local businesses, if you believe that it is better to know the people who make things that you use, if you believe that the world should have local cultures, Microbreweries provide a bright spot.  They show that it can be done, and that it can be done successfully.

Live a hands-on Life

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