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Archive for September 11th, 2009

What revolution?

antique_beer_photosThe 30th anniversary issue of All About Beer arrived last week. Lots of good overview articles and reprints of some of the best beer writing over the three decades. (I wonder why their web site never shows the cover of their current issue. That’s why I nicked anopther illustration instead.)

What I found most interesting was Maureen Ogle’s What Revolution, where she points out that craft beer has not taken over the market. What was fringe in 1979 is fringe in 2009. Two entities – Anheuser-Busch InBev and Miller-Coors control 80 percent of the U.S. market, with imports – mostly Corona and Heineken – taking a furter 13 percent.

She asks if the beer revolution has succeeded, and answers:

If the revolution’s intent was to change American beer culture, the answer is a decisive yes – and no. Yes, because the nation’s breweries now number fifteen hundred rather than the few dozen of thirty years ago. No, because the majority of Americans still regard beer as a kid’s drink and they still prefer those pesky corporate beers.

Yes, because American beer makers are stewards of the most dynamic, most creative brewing industry in the world. No, because after thirty years most of those brewers preside over a tiny niche market.

Buy a copy if you can find one!

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