If you look at the global picture, the trend is clear. Beer consumption is going downhill, if you look at the traditional markets (meaning everywhere but China). The global players are doing their best to gain market shares, sometimes with alliances about as cozy as the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.
But, frankly, it does not matter. (Well, if you are in China, it probably does).
Because we are getting spoilt for choice. The next wave of the beer revolution is sweeping across Europe.
I torment myself by joining the mailing lists of a selected number of beer retailers, bars and breweries. One of them is the Arendsnest in Amsterdam.
They are having a tasting tonight. This café has long been a promoter of Dutch beers, taking pride in serving craft beers from every corner of the country. But tonight they are staying local, offering beers from seven Amsterdam breweries:
- Brouwerij de Prael
- Brouwerij ‘t IJ
- Brouwerij de 7 deugden
- Brouwerij de Bekeerde Suster
- Brouwerij de Snaterende Arend
- Brouwerij Zeeburg
- Brouwerij Butcher’s Tears
By this time next year, we’ll be able to hold a similar tasting here in Oslo, with between six and eight breweries in business. Most of them will be exclusively brewpubs, some will possibly bottle some.
There are other European capitals with impressive lists of brewpubs and micros:
- London must have a few dozen breweries now, up from two or three when Young’s closed down.just a few years ago.
- Berlin has a fair number, as documented here on this blog.
- Vienna often escapes the radar for beer tourism, but had a fine selection of brewpubs.