Brewing is a process that intrigues many of us. It's something we are all familiar with but few understand well. However, brewing at its core is a primary act. You need only a desire to do it yourself. Curious cooks, gardeners, and bread bakers all make successful brewers. Nearly everyone I've known that brews beer practices at least one of those hobbies. Pro and home brewers like to do the basics. That's how it started with me anyway. A long time ago a friend of mine gave me a beer. It was really good. I asked him what kind it was and he told, "Mine, I made it". That was 1986. I started making beer the next week. Several years later while teaching high school science I got a part time bartending job in Michigan's first brew-pub. As you would expect, business was brisk and I helped out in the brewery. Five years later, our head brewer moved on so I took over.
It wasn't that long ago when all of Michigan's craft brewers knew each other by first name. You could fit every brewer in the state around a small bar in Flint. We started the Michigan Brewer's Guild there. Today, it has 120 member breweries and growing weekly. Michigan is fourth in the nation. Our trade employs thousands of people. There were 800 beers available at the Michigan Summer Beer Festival. Locally, we have seventeen breweries, all with tap rooms. Show me a bar without Michigan beer and I'll show you an empty bar. Grand Rapids is beer city USA two years in a row! Stores can't keep up with demand. Where does it end? The good is that it doesn't have to. We have challenges like any other business. Many of them are out of our control. But fundamentally craft beer is not about brewers or breweries. It's about you, the craft beer drinker. More specifically, it's about the local craft beer drinker.