deVine Thoughts

November 11, 2013

Craft Beer Explosion!

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 12:45 pm

craft_explosionAuthor: Chad Gascho

It’s safe to say that Albertans are enjoying one of the best selections of craft beer in the country. Since the privatization of liquor in 1993 the ability to import brews from all over the world has become more simplified and has allowed for the incredible amount of variety that can be seen in retail liquor stores today. There are about 1500 different varieties available in the Alberta market, with craft beer making up around 2/3 of that selection, at least doubling what was available 10years ago. Brand loyalty for our domestic brands (Molson, Coors, Kokanee, etc.) still exists but has started to fade with the lure of something new and different. Why have we seen such a steady increase in craft beer consumption? My opinion is that in this era of information, a new generation of people are more open to and embracing the variety that life has to offer; in this case, fresh and innovative brews. After all, it is the third most consumed beverage in the world (water then tea being at the top of the list).

So what does ‘craft’ beer mean? Essentially, a craft beer has been defined as an independently owned brewery using fresh, natural, and quality ingredients that are made in relatively small batches (between 1,800,000 and 600,000,000 L year), where more focus is on creativity and distinguishing flavors throughout the brewing process. In comparison, the mass producing corporate breweries (which pump out several billion L year) target a generalized array of tastes, keeping costs down by sometimes substituting corn or rice for malted barley, which will create alcohol but sacrifices flavor. They also pasteurize to cut costs, which increases shelf life, again sacrificing some of the flavor. Some big brewers hasten fermentation with enzymes that make a kind of beer concentration, which they will later add water to. None of the above happens when a craft beer is produced with the exception of pasteurization, which is uncommon, but does seldom happen. Now, this doesn’t mean that a big brewer doesn’t manufacture a decent beer; it’s just generally limited stylistically. Nor does it mean that a crafted brew will always be a better product (I’ve had some duds in my time), but the diverse range of brews that can be ‘crafted’ are abundant and there is something for everyone; from a Czech style pilsner to an Imperial IPA to barrel aged stouts. There seems to be no shortage of fresh, new products rolling into the province on a weekly basis and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon, which is fantastic…keep it coming!

At deVine Wines our primary focus is on the wines we carry, but we’ve also always been passionate about the selection of beers that we stock – a majority portion of those being craft beer. I like to think that our selection of beer throughout the years has had some influence on how Edmontonians have diversified their taste for new and different brews, ultimately directing us towards the craft beer explosion we’re seeing today. When we first opened in 2005, we started with a stock of around a 100 or so different varieties and we’ve continuously grown our selection to the over 300 products on the shelves today. Not too bad for a little boutique store, eh? We are committed to keep continuously growing our selection, striving to provide a vast range of flavors and experiences for our customers. And keep your eye out in the future for upcoming beer related pouring’s, tastings and events. Stay Thirsty Edmonton!

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