If you haven’t read my bio yet then you may be asking yourself, “What city is Craft Beer Joe from that he thinks his local craft beer is the best?”
Maybe Denver? Or Portland? How about San Diego? What about somewhere in the Northeast like Vermont?
Nope . . . Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ok, many of you will laugh or at least think I am a little crazy to make that statement. I know it is not what most people think of as a major craft beer city. But we have over 30 breweries in the area and more are planned to open this year. Many of these breweries are winning national awards for their beer. Cincinnati hosts the second largest Oktoberfest in the world. We have a long history of beer in Cincinnati and the craft beer community is growing stronger every day. So there are lots of reasons to love Cincinnati craft beer.
You probably have a list of reasons why your city is a great craft beer city. And if I had to guess; you probably feel you have the best craft beer as well. And that is my point; everyone thinks their local craft beer is the best. We can’t all be right? Or can we?
What Others Tell Me About Their Local Craft Beer
I travel a small amount for work and everywhere I go the locals tell me that their local beer is the best. They can’t wait to tell me about their favorite spot to grab a locally brewed beer and how their local craft beer scene is “blowing up”. And they aren’t wrong. I am always impressed by the craft beer options in just about every city I visit.
But the reality is most cities are seeing a huge growth in the number and size of craft breweries. So is their area any different than mine or yours? No, but that’s the point; we are all excited about our local craft beer community and can’t wait to share it.
We all truly believe that our craft beer is the best. And for the most part, we all embrace this enthusiasm and look forward to trying the beer from just about any region.
But why is there such a strong belief in local craft beer?
Local Craft Beer Pride
So how can everyone feel that their beer scene is the best? It is similar to nationalism. (The belief that your country is superior to others) It is a blindness that loyalty creates. It is a lot like how we cheer for our local sports teams or our alma mater. The connection to a specific culture drives loyalty and we want everyone to see that what we have is speical.
In many cases, nationalism is viewed as a negative characteristic. Americans are often accused of ignoring the facts that other countries excel in areas that we do not. Just look at Japan’s technological advances or China’s ability to manufacture. This idea always seems more prevalent during the Olympics. I love how well the USA competes but there are some sports that we just are not good at and it shows. But I still believe that we can win and am shocked when we fail to earn a medal.
Craft beer is no different; we believe that our local beers are world class. And it doesn’t matter if it is true or not; the fact that we believe is helping move craft beer forward. Just by bragging about my local beer creates hype and demand which is good for the industry. It adds the excitement of being part of the craft beer community.
Drinking From The Source
Buying locally produced products and services has seen a huge boom recently; craft beer benefits from this trend. Consumers want a local option. Not only is it good for the local economy but it’s good for the consumer too. Buying local helps the consumer feel connected to the company, product or service. Locally produced beer gives me the opportunity to support a local business, their employees and the community. Buy local is good for the economy and the community.
At the same time, I love knowing that I can go diretly to the source for my craft beer. I can visit the brewery and get the beer directly from the people that are making it. Most craft beer fans will tell you they prefer going to the brewery because of the experience they get in the taproom. There is something special about being in a taproom enjoying beer that was made in the same building. It provides an instant connection to the other craft beer enthusiasts in the room. And these connections are what the craft beer community is all about. If you don’t get your craft beer from the source on a regular basis, I urge you to. You won’t be disappointed in the taproom experience.
Limited Supply And Beer Trading
The lack of supply and distribution directly impacts the ability for local breweries to establish a following of dedicated customers. The most popular breweries are not able to keep up with the demand that exists for their brews.
Craft beer fans in Southern California are constantly talking about breweries like Monkish and Modern Times. These smaller breweries do not have the same reach as large breweries. This limited supply creates demand and fuels the locals drive to acquire it. People line up for their special release beers and in many cases wait hours to get it.
This is multiplied when a brewery starts to draw attention from the vast number of beer traders. These fans are dedicated to spreading beer across the nation in exchange for the craft beer releases in other areas. This drives demand and makes the local fans appreciate their breweries even more.
Bottom Line – Be Proud!
I really love how much pride that the local fans have for their craft beer. I know everyone on the east coast would love to get some Pliny and everyone on the west coast is dreaming of some Heady Topper but that doesn’t change how they feel about their local offerings and how they promote them to visitors. Each city has a strong and vocal craft beer community that is quick to tell the rest of the world about their great beer.
So make sure you are doing the same; be proud of your local breweries. Encourage others to visit your area, try the best local craft beer and become part of your craft beer community.