Our Friday beer headline: Sales of American craft beer — defined as coming from small, independent brewers — are exploding in Europe, up 52 percent last year according to the trade group the Brewers Association. The biggest demand is coming from Sweden and the UK.
Smuttynose Brewing is one of those American craft brewers shipping its bottles overseas. That’s pretty impressive, considering the brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is about the size of a high school gym.
JT Thompson, Smuttynose’s “Minister of Propoganda,” says while American craft beers are firmly grounded in European traditions, they have an American twist.
“I think what makes them distinctly American, and I think this an inherent part of our national character, is we’ll take something and make it bigger or more bold or more robust,” Thompson explains. “And that’s exactly what we’ve done as American craft brewers. So we’ve really been able to draw from a lot of different traditions and sort of reconstitute them or reinvent them to create our own stamp in the brewing world.” More.
That’s a good point. I haven’t seen many beers as hopped up as American craft brewery IPAs. The hop shortage reported a year or two ago doesn’t seem to have hampered the ability of Surly, Fulton, Harriet, or Bell’s to do their thing.