Microbrew Restaurants on the Rise in America

a choosy beggar asks for a microbrew

In the early 2000s, microbrew restaurants were seldom seen outside of large U.S. cities on the East Coast, Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain state. But visits to the craft beer brewhouses of the day (Sierra Nevada in Chico, California for example) helped convince wannabe brewmasters that their dreams to open similar home-crafted beer restaurants could indeed come true.

And so an explosion happened; Word spread of the quality beers produced by a growing number of dedicated, small batch beer distributors and restauranteurs. Word also spread, in some cases, about the quality food that was being offered. Goodbye no-frills pub grub.

In recent years, more and more craft beer restaurants opened. These businesses are succeeding. Today they can be found in all major U.S. cities and in many smaller cities and towns. Craft brewery restaurants are even beginning to open in downtrodden neighborhoods and are helping to turn these neighborhoods into must-experience destinations.

Craft brewing is changing the beer industry. What once may have seemed like a fad has now even captured the attention of large-scale distributors like Budweiser who recently parodied craft beers in their television ads. Mockery is the most sincere form of flattery, right?

The rise in popularity of these restaurants followed a similar rise in the healthy foods segment of the grocery industry. Stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and even lo-fi chain ALDI (with its Fit & Active selections) changed the marketplace with their selections.

Despite the higher costs of “healthy alternatives” people bought them, causing large grocery chain managers to section off areas of their stores just for these foods, foods which became increasingly available as more producers realized their products now had a place in the market.

Consider how ubiquitous the marketing terms for such foods have become, terms rarely used twenty years ago.  These foods are advertised as local, natural, seasonal, environmentally friendly, hand crafted, whole grain, organic, gluten free, grass fed, farm fresh, farm to table, with no artificial flavors, preservatives or sweeteners and absolutely no Trans fats.

Many of these same terms are used to describe microbrews.  Will you drink to that?