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Microbrew

From Academic Kids

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Castle_Rock_Brewery_-_Nottingham_-_England_-_2004-11-04.jpg
Beer barrels outside the Castle Rock microbrewery in Nottingham, England.

A microbrew is a beer produced in relatively small quantities by a microbrewery, a small commercial brewery.

The term and trend originated in the United States in the late 1980s. July 2003 estimates published by the Association of Brewers (http://www.beertown.org/) show there are 366 microbreweries in the United States.

In the early twentieth century, Prohibition drove many breweries into bankruptcy because they could not rely on selling "sacramental" wine as wineries of that era did. After several decades of consolidation of breweries, most American commercial beer was produced by a few very large corporations, resulting in a very uniform mild-tasting lager of which Budweiser is the most famous (or infamous) example. Consequently, some beer drinkers craving variety turned to homebrewing and eventually a few started doing so on a slightly larger scale. For inspiration, they turned to Britain, Germany, and Belgium, where a centuries-old tradition of artisan beer and ale production had never died out.

The popularity of these products was such that the trend quickly spread, and hundreds of small breweries sprang up, often attached to a bar (known as a "brewpub") where the product could be enjoyed.

Microbreweries are gradually appearing in other countries (such as New Zealand and Australia) where a similar market concentration exists. For example, microbreweries are flourishing in Canada, which (like the US) has a large domestic market dominated by large companies.

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