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Friday, January 12, 2007

Say NO to microbrewery

Craft beer growth was up 7% in 2004, 9% in 2005. If my employer's experience can be extrapolated, 2006 should be another year of growth AND of an increase in the percentage of growth. Figures have not been released yet ... even though mid-year figures did appear to support this supposition.

Much as I avoid drinking yellow-beer-in-a-can, I avoid using the term microbrewery. It sounds as if it were a descriptor of a high-school science lab experiment gone awry. I remember seeing a cartoon (I believe in the New Yorker) in which a plane traveler was handed a beer bottle the size of a liquor miniature after having requested a microbrew.

Local brewery seems so much more an evocative term: a symbol of a return to the days when there were many local breweries in many communities throughout the US. The difference now would be the diversity of styles produced by today's craft - er - local breweries. 50 years ago, styles were in a narrower range, usually in the American lager category, with a few bocks and ales thrown in.

Beer writer Michael Jackson once proposed to label our efforts - boutique beers. Normally very astute, Jackson, fortunately, miscarried here.

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