^ Joe Wilson, Homestead Beer Company
The following is a repost of a 2/8/2018 post to the Columbus Craft Beer Consortium Facebook page by Joe Wilson, sales manager, and event coordinator, at Homestead Beer Company Co in Heath, Ohio. Published here with permission of the author.
^Feds dumping beer in 1925
In my (admittedly unread and uneducated) mind, the future of beer looks much like the distant past of beer. Before refrigeration and stainless steel kegs. Before carbonation. Before prohibition and all the false pretenses that brought it to be. Before the distributors that thrive in the wake of such laws.
^ 16th century brewing
Beer is thousands of years old. Try to wrap your head around how many recipes never made it beyond a hillside or valley town. Ponder the ingredients they'd use in times of need. Imagine the inconsistencies, maybe perilous, perhaps delicious.
It was a vital part of life. Water was dirty. Beer is clean. We would laugh at someone who didn't know boing water was a sterilization process, but our ancestors didn't! Nor did they fully understand the antiseptic qualities of hops. And they certainly didn't understand yeast, being all invisible and stuff...We've come a long way from witches' brews and magic sticks!
Beer was once a local enterprise due to limitations. It couldn't be kept clean and cold long enough to transport well, and people could only travel as far as they could walk. Breweries were family and neighborhood owned and leaving one's sphere to try new beer must have been a wonderful shock to the senses.
So as the larger breweries continue to crumble and the glory of once-help monopolies start to crack and fade, we'll slowly return to that old model.
If we lazily adopt the business mentality of the dying beast, we're probably bound to a similar fate. Instead of using words like "fighting" and "competition" we should focus on more realistic words. I like to think that we're doing something greater than "beating" my friends and colleagues in a fake game.
Each new brewery causes us to up our game, tighten quality and bring beers that our regulars request, expect and analyze. We're not fighting other breweries. We're building with them. We're witnessing a conversion in beer culture, but that takes time and effort and quality liquid on tap and on shelves.
I see the future with more local options. Just as we differ over the best local pizza, pho, subs, sushi, etc., we'll have as many options and opinions when it comes to beer. The days of opening a brewery to become a millionaire may not be over, but the days are numbered. Those left standing will respect their local market first and carefully export brands that translate well into other areas.
So here's to more beer, better quality and camaraderie. You can have the rest.
Sales Manager & Event Coordinator
Homestead Beer Company