It is interesting to note that a majority of the brewing schools in the world are currently in Europe. When you look at many of the big players in the craft beer movement, they spent time in Europe learning about beer. Garrett Oliver (I don’t know the man personally, I just like throwing his name around), states that his beer awakening happened during his time in Europe. This is understandable when you consider that at the time beer in the US wasn’t really something to excite most people.
This is the list of brewing programs compiled on the Brewers Association website. With the growth of the craft beer industry, we begin to see a rise in the number of US locations offering courses pertaining to fermented beverages. It was only recently that Michigan State University announced that they will offer 3 fermented beverage classes. That is pretty big news.
It would seem that we are a changing. Philosophically this makes me wonder what it is that drives change. Is it perceived need or actual need? This can be a difficult question to answer. On one hand the majority of the growth we see today has been through the grass roots efforts of home brewers and other self trained individuals. But at the same time, the growth is happening so fast that many believe that those coming into the industry now should have more and better training than they did so that the industry can move forward.
Now here is a thought on perception…
The craft industry holds only about a 5.7% marketshare overall. This isn’t a huge number really. But when you are in the trenches fighting to make your name and see so much information and hear the buzz about craft, you can feel that it is the only thing out there. Granted the craft industry has been gaining ground every year, while big beer is slowly starting to decline. Eventually the market will find an equilibrium, the question is when and where.
Is it possible that with more formalized training the craft industry will become more than a grass roots movement?
Time for a pint…