While it’s true that craft beer doesn’t come in a specially engineered can that tells you when it’s as “Cold as the Rockies” or have its own puppy-packed Super Bowl commercial, it’s notable in its own way. What craft breweries lack in research and development funding, they make up for with flavor, creativity and consistency.
Following the success seen by companies like the Arizona favorite Four Peaks Brewing Company, with its Tempe location opening its doors in summer 2012 and seeing exponential growth and a loyal and enthusiastic fan base, leaders of metro Phoenix hope that by calling for the introduction of more local breweries, they’ll build onto the already vibrant Phoenix culture while concurrently attracting more tourists. In theory, these tourists wouldn’t only be checking out the beer, but everything else that Phoenix has to offer.
A favorite for snowbirds, the sixth largest city in the U.S. is often overlooked by everyone. Tourists steer clear of Phoenix, writing it off before even realizing the culture, entertainment and hidden gems we have to offer.
By bringing craft breweries to downtown Phoenix, there’s a higher chance that tourists who are baseball enthusiasts will notice Chase Field, where our beloved Arizona Diamondbacks play during season, or maybe art junkies will be drawn to the different art museums, displays and shows scattered around the valley.
But what exactly makes craft breweries so special that they will have this strong power of attraction, you may be asking. Simple answer — everything. If your preference is clubbing on Mill Avenue, it’s likely that you haven’t experienced the refined simplicity of a craft brewery or what it has to offer.
In order to be considered a craft brewery, there are guidelines set in place by the Brewer’s Association, an organization of brewers who serve to “promote and protect small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.”
Briefly summarized, these brewery guidelines can be broken down into three keywords: small, independent and traditional.
A craft brewery will produce less than two million barrels of beer per year, making it a small company. In order to be considered independent, no more than 25 percent of the brewery in question is to be owned by a big name alcoholic beverage industry member. And lastly, craft breweries stick to a traditional method of brewing 50 (or greater) percent malt beers.
Unlike clubs, breweries are more of a traditional social experience. They’re a place where you can have an in-depth conversation with friends rather than screaming over much too loud bass while knocking back drinks that are simultaneously over priced and watered down.
In fact, you won’t be paying for a watered down drink at all. What you’ll be getting is a full flavored beer with a higher alcohol content, some even as high as 12 percent alcohol by volume, at a lower price. Simplified — more bang for your buck.
What attracts brewing enthusiasts to craft breweries is the sheer fact that each brewery has their own brewing methods, recipes and ingredients that lead to a flavor unique to their company. Die-hard enthusiasts will travel far and wide to taste a variety of these special beers.
These beer driven travelers, and presumably their families, friends and travel companions, will stay to experience Phoenix based on the performances put on by local artists during open mic nights, the atmosphere and beauty the city naturally holds and the recommendations they receive from their bartenders, servers and fellow drinkers.
Although it may seem like a long shot or a ploy to get more alcohol into the area, the preposition to introduce a plethora of craft breweries into the area is actually one of the more thought out, I might even go as far as to say ingenious, ideas brought forward by the leaders of the city of Phoenix.
With good fortune, great beer and well thought-out business plans these breweries might just earn us the title of a must see destination and the recognition that we have more to offer than dry desert heat and a whole lot of cacti.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @mikayrodr