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Craft Beer Creating a Higher Standard for Alcoholism
Craft Beer Explosion
In 2014 the craft beer industry had a 22% growth over 2013, and did a whopping 19.6 billion dollars. There was a total of 3,464 breweries in the United States at the end of 2014, and it is reported by the Brewers Association that 1.5 new breweries open every day. They also report that in 2014 the craft beer business had 115,469 people employed which is a 4.3% increase from 2013. Some larger beer stores are now hiring craft beer experts just to educate and inform people about different craft beers. In other words craft beer is getting bigger every year which means more people are drinking beer with higher alcohol in it. Some Beers such as Victory Brewing Company's Golden Monkey comes in at 9.5% ABV (Alcohol By Volume), while Miller Lite comes in at 4.17% ABV. This puts a whole new meaning on just going out for a few beers. Now that people order these high alcohol volume craft beers they are doubling their alcohol every time they drink. Not all craft beers are created equal in terms of ABV though. For example RJ Rockers Brewing Company's Son of a Peach has only 6% ABV. Still if you go to your local brewpub and you order a beer it will most of the time be draft and will usually be in a 16 ounce pint glass (4 more ounces then your normal 12 oz bottle). Those are some pretty amazing statistics for the craft beer industry.
Our Image of Beer Drinkers Has Changed
I remember not to long ago when I was a teenager watching the Super Bowl and the Budweiser commercial with the frogs came on. Back then the words craft beer had not even been put together yet. Beer drinkers were usually thought of as fat guys who sat on the couch watching Nascar or football games. Most people had that uncle who drank too much every time he came over with his beer gut and reeked of beer breath. Fast forward to today and think about how much our perception has changed. With craft beer it has now become cool to drink beer again. Go to any local brew pub and go to the bar, order a craft beer, sit down and discuss the beer with the person next to you. Have you ever had a conversation about how wonderful the malts and hops were in a Budweiser? Now think about all the times you have been around avid wine drinkers and how they would have whole conversations about the body of the wine. You have now just had a similar conversation about the beer your drinking. We usually don't view wine drinkers as being alcoholics. The same can be said for craft beer drinkers. In our minds we still have the old images of what an alcoholic is.
Definition of an Alcoholic
According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans moderate drinking for women is 1 drink per day and for men it is two drinks per day. Basically a drink is a shot of liquor, glass of wine, or a 12 ounce beer at 5% ABV. Since I grew up with parents who drink I consider this to be very rigid since a lot of people drink more then that daily and never seem to have any effects from it. To some one who does not drink at all a couple of drinks daily may seem like a lot. So where does leave the craft beer drinker? When craft beer drinkers drink they usually won't go back to normal beer because to them it taste like water. I discussed earlier that most craft beer has a higher ABV then normal beers and therefore what is considered 1 drink may be more like 1.5. So by Dietary Guidelines the craft beer drinkers are most likely drinking to much if they partake in more then 1 per day. To some one who drinks that sounds like too little. Believe it or not the UK has the same guidelines as the US does when it comes to the government guidelines. Is our culture starting to accept what is defined by our country as drinking to much as normal?
So we have determined that our vision of what beer drinkers look like have changed. Craft beer has become so common that it is looked at like wine drinkers. Drinking in general has its ups and downs. No matter what you decide to drink you are always responsible for yourself and especially behind the wheel of a car. If you drink 2 Bud Lights you can most likely drive home legally and be perfectly fine. If you drink 2 Golden Monkeys then your next order better be a water and you should wait to drive. If you switched from drinking light beers to craft beers with higher alcohol content then you need to reduce what you drink to be healthy. Being an alcoholic is being an alcoholic and it really doesn't matter what the public perception is. Always drink responsibly and remember that alcohol is alcohol no matter what it looks or taste like. In the end craft beer has opened up a world of new flavors and ways to drink beer. The perception of a beer drinker has changed drastically in the past fifteen years.