If you're a lover of frosty suds, then that title alone will make you happy. So today, we wanted to bring you a few fun facts about the craft beer movement in the US, which has grown like wildfire in the last few years. Enjoy these fun facts, quips and statistics about craft beer and in part two of this blog, we'll go into detail about the craft brew scene in California and Sacramento, including our favorite!
1. Is our hometown Sacramento one of the top spots for craft beer in the entire US? You bet it is! According to a Nielsen study, the top 5 metropolitan areas for craft breweries and popularity of their beers include Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, San Diego, and San Francisco (in no particular order).
2. Last year, an estimated 212,159,327 barrels of craft beer sold! (By the way, a single barrel contains 31 gallons of beer.)
3. In fact, it's estimated that craft brews now account for 1 out of every ten beer sales in the US.
4. The trend is so popular that most Americans now live within 10 miles or less of a craft brewery.
5. To brew beer, it takes water, malt, hops and yeast. But brewers are also experimenting with additional ingredients like fruit, coffee beans, chocolate, spices, and fermented sugar to add flavor and character.
6. It also takes about 20 hours of manpower to produce just one batch of beer.
7. According to the Brewer’s Association, there are 152 recognized styles of beers.
8. But IPAs are the most popular style of craft beer in the US.
9. Beer is the third most popular drink in the world, behind water and tea.
10. Archeological evidence suggests that human beings were brewing beer as far back as 7,000 BC.
11. Of course, we took a short break from (legally) consuming beer and other alcohol in the US during Prohibition.
For the record, Prohibition lasted 13 years, 10 months, 19 days, 17 hours, and 32.5 minutes.
12. Not long after, in 1935, beer was first put in a can. (Genius!)
13. California (350), Washington (150), Oregon (134), and Colorado (160) are the states with the most craft breweries.
But it’s Portland, Oregon that leads the entire world for the most breweries in a city, with 58 in Portland's city proper and another 84 in the metro area.
14. Some craft beers, like Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout (ABV 15-20%) and Founders Brewer Bolt Cutter (ABV 15%) have an alcohol content as high as wine or even mixed drinks!
15. Now part of the craft brewing tradition, aging beer in wooden barrels was never the intention of the first brewers, who accidently stored their beer in barrels used to distill whiskey and then loved the taste.
16. What’s old is new, as there’s now a reemerging trend of aging beer in liquor barrels that were used to store bourbon, cognac, or even tequila, giving the beer unique flavors and characteristics.
17. Several US Presidents have been home brewers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and, more recently, Barack Obama.
18. Craft beers taste excellent but they also pretty substantial. In fact, the average calories in a 12-oz glass for lagers (140 calories), pale ales (150 calories), pumpkin ales (240 calories), and imperial stouts (300 calories) is far more than your average light beer.
19. How do essential ingredients impact our craft beers? The amount of malt in a beer usually dictates how dark it is. Rye sharpens flavors, adds crispness, and gives a hint of spiciness. Cascade hops are the most popular hops varietal among craft brewers,
20. But hops is also poisonous to dogs and pets, so be careful not to leave it around if you’re home brewing your own beer.
21. In 2015, overall beer sales grew by only 0.2% in the US. But in that same time, sales of craft beers jumped by 12.8%, and exports of our craft beers surged 16.3%.
22. The US beer market grew to $105.9 billion as of 2015, with craft beers making up a significant 12.2% share of that by volume and a 21% share by sales.
23. As of the end of 2015, the U.S. was home to 4,201 craft beer breweries, an increase of 15% since 2014. (4,269 operated in 2015 but 68 of them closed.)
24. Of those 4,269 craft breweries, 1,650 are brewpubs, 2,397 microbrews, and 178 regional craft breweries.
25. Using regional ingredients and supporting the local economy are two big parts of the popularity of craft beer. In fact, 53% of beer drinkers ages 21-34 say that a beer with local ingredients is important to them.
26. However, your local craft beer may not be quite as local soon, with the big beer companies rapidly looking to cash in by buying smaller breweries. In fact, Anheuser-Busch, which owns 50% of the beer market and makes Budweiser, acquired four craft breweries in just two days last year. Heineken kept up, including buying a 50% stake in our regional Lagunitas beer.
27. In all, there were 24 craft brewery mergers and acquisitions in the US in 2015.
28. Why are the better beers not served too icy? In fact, cold masks the flavors of the craft beer.
29. Instead of pouring them in the normal pint glass, strong ales should be served in a snifter to increase the heat transfer from your hand, just like some wines.
30. Frosted glasses cause more foaming when beer is poured into them, so that's why room-temperature glasses are used for craft beers.
31. An expert beer maker is called a Cicerone, but only three people in the U.S. hold the title of Master Cicerone!
32. Craft brewers are making some incredibly creative beers these days, including Mamma Mia’s Pizza Beer that’s infused with pizza crusts and tastes like garlic, basil, oregano, and tomato.
33. The Porterhouse Brewing Company in Ireland shucks fresh oysters into their tanks during the brewing process for a fresh seafood-beer combination!
34. And Sprecher Mbege Ale is a unique African style beer that fire-brews bananas in the brewing process.
35. Will drinking beer improve your health? Research shows that there are plenty of health benefits from moderate beer consumption, such as decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, helping to lower cholesterol levels, osteoporosis prevention, and even anti-cancer activity in liver cancer cells.