I Believe in Local Beer | Craft Beer Delmarva

Burley Oak has a Kickstarter. It is only novel in that it is being done by someone I know personally. All over the country, small breweries are leveraging something only a small brewery can possess—a philosophical preference for local beer.

The rise of the local beer Kickstarter to prominence has to do with (I think) the rise of the drink local movement. People don’t just want to be able to drink local beer, they want you to be able to drink local beer. It is an amazing prospect. Although there’s some infighting and the occasional bruised ego among the brewing community, there still is an overriding sense of the tide lifting all ships.

Why we drink

As long as good, local beer is a thing, it will remain a thing everywhere. People from all over, then, tend to support Kickstarter campaigns for breweries they totally will never visit. They do it, primarily, in the way the faithful give to television preachers. Local brewers are doing the Lords work, and supporters want to help them. Also, and frankly, some of the gifts are pretty cool, and what’s hipper than wearing a tee shirt bearing the logo of a brewery no one has ever heard of?

There is a salient difference between a craft beer geek and a local beer geek. Both support good craft beer, and often smaller beers over larger beers, but local beer geeks will take a local beer over an import from the next county over every time. A local beer geek is a dollar voter. We pay for what we want to see more of. Increasingly, we want to see more cans.

Cool is just the beginning

Beyond being cool, cans, for those into the drink local scene, represent a sustainability in the local beer market that was frankly impossible even a decade ago. Larger craft breweries could can their beer, but smaller ones couldn’t make the jump. With the rise of the mobile canning, this began to evolve. Over the last five years even tiny breweries that barely have the space for tanks can have a mobile canning operation come in and ship their beers all over the region.

As a can proponent, I’ve altered the way I shop for beer. First I look for a can I’ve never had, then I look for a bottle I’ve never had, then I buy a can I like (unless I’m fulfilling a particular craving, like for Lucky 7). I’m not the only one. The craft can revolution already is underway. And, as the demand for American craft beer increases in Europe and China, canning can only become more prevalent. It’s an exciting time for people who like beer variety, and an even more exciting one for those enthusiasts who prefer portable variety.

Craft beer of the future

It make me excited for a future where we have a Jeffersonian approach to beer. In (a truncated version of) Jefferson’s vision for America, every region would be self-sufficient for food and trade for luxury items. I take that to mean a return to the small town brewery that was commonplace in in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I happen to have a brewery in my town (3rd Wave) and one the next town over (Evolution).

So to borrow lightly from the small, local philosophy, I get my necessary beers from my local providers and go to the liquor store for my luxury beer. It’s a treat to myself, and my vision for a united, sustainable craft beer future. A growler from home and a six pack from abroad. Lately, they have been from far-flung places like Greenville, Del. and Asheville, N.C. The day when I can get my six pack (or four pack) “imported” from Berlin, will be a great one indeed.