The world of craft beer


Interest in craft beer – and the community around it – has grown so significantly that at this point, the number and range of enthusiasts might surprise even a seasoned drinker. For a glimpse of this world, here are a few fun factoids about its international scope, its female brewers, and the expanding number of curiosities in the industry.

Craft Beer Across the Globe:

  • South Korea is starting to see a craft beer boom; the Korean beer market is expected to be worth $1.6 billion in 2017.
  • According to the Guinness Book, the country with the greatest retail sales of beer is the Czech Republic. In 2011, 144.8 liters of beer were bought per head of population.
  • An international craft brew ally, Pasteur Street Brewing — the first craft brewery in the country — opened in Vietnam in 2015: “Located in the heart of Saigon, we combine education and experience along with passion and innovation to bring fresh American craft beer to an international market.”
  • “Belgian styles in Japan, altbiers in the USA, pale ales in Germany and bock beers in Brazil are just some of the interesting developments in the changing international marketplace,” according to the Brewers Association. “Traditional beer styles are not only celebrated in their native lands, but are now being shared, brewed and enjoyed worldwide.” Since 1996, they have hosted the bi-annual World Beer Cup Competition with 90+ categories and more than 200 judges globally.

Ladies & Lager:

  • Women were originally the ones to brew beer. In ancient Egypt beer was almost exclusively brewed and sold by women.
  • Women account for 37% of total craft beer consumption in the US, and 29% of brewery workers. Women also make up 21% of top positions in stateside craft breweries.
  • The Pink Boots Society helps women advance their careers in the industry. With 25 chapters across the US, they provide networking events, seminars and scholarships.
  • There are plenty of women in brewery roles, but a couple names to know are:

Anat Baron, director of “Beer Wars,” a documentary exposing the inner workings of the beer industry and the struggles of small independent brewers.

Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association. She’s also co-author of the free Beer & Food Course, as well as co-author of Beer Pairing. She is a longtime homebrewer, BJCP beer judge and certified Cicerone.

Lucy Saunders, author of Dinner in the Beer Garden, Grilling with Beer, and Cooking with Beer, is an environmental philanthropist who educates breweries on water conservation.

Beer Miscellany:

  • California tops the states for the most craft breweries in the USA. Specifically, San Diego and the Bay Area are hotbeds of craft, with roughly 110 and 107 breweries respectively (2016).
  • The Great American Beer Festival, open to the public annually in Colorado, was founded in 1982 and, according to the Guinness Book, holds the record for Beer Festival with World’s Greatest Variety of Beer. In 2015, tasting sessions offered attendees access to more than 3,500 different beers from more than 700 American breweries.
  • Yuengling & Son, commonly called Yuengling (pronounced “ying-ling”), is the oldest operating brewing company in the U.S., established in 1829 by David Yuengling. It is also one of the largest breweries by volume in the country.
  • Why green beer in March? It used to be tradition to “drown the shamrock,” paying respects to Saint Patrick by dropping a clover into your drink and downing the whole glass. Eventually someone got crafty with some food coloring. (The first recorded incident of beer being turned green occurred in New York City in 1914.)

Additional Sources:

Method Brewing, where you’ll find a full beer list and updates on the Methodology bar:

Brewers Association, a national organization supporting craft and home brewers:

Public Lab, a hub for DIY environmental science and testing tools:

The Mad Fermentationist, a blog for home brewers, featuring recipes and reveries:

Brülosophy: a blog and brewing community that conducts and chronicles “exbeeriments”:

© 2020 Morgan McLaughlin, all rights reserved. Under exclusive license to Craftsmanship, LLC. Unauthorized copying or republication of this article is prohibited by law.

Published: December 1, 2016