With this article we want to introduce our readers to the world of craft beer. Until a few years ago in Italy people did not even know what it was, today awareness is increasing and with it the producers of this product and the events dedicated to it. A high-quality product with ancient origins.
In order to unambiguously identify what is meant by craft beer, we quote below the normative reference in Art. 2 Paragraph 4a of Law no. 1354, Aug. 16, 1962, as amended by Art. 35, para. 1, L. July 28, 2016, no. 154. in which craft beer is defined as beer produced by small independent breweries and not subjected to pasteurization and microfiltration processes during production. For the purposes of this subsection, an independent small brewery is defined as a brewery that is legally and economically independent of any other brewery, that uses facilities that are physically separate from those of any other brewery, that does not operate under a license to use the intangible property rights of others, and whose annual production does not exceed 200,000 hectoliters, including in this quantity the quantities of beer produced for third parties
According to Italian law, therefore, only beer that meets three basic criteria can be defined as craft beer:
- It should not be pasteurized or microfiltered;
- It must be brewed by an independent brewery;
- The brewery must not exceed an annual production of 200,000 hl.
Craft beer has an ancient history that has its roots in a distant era. One of the earliest records of its existence is found in a Sumerian-era stele that tells what kind of gift should be offered to the gods. What is clear through this testimony, however, is the fact that from its origins it has consisted of an unfiltered drink with a cloudy color. In Egyptian times it is given the title of drink of the gods.
In the Middle Ages it became the main beverage used, hence the phenomenon of brewing by monks, an art handed down to the present day.
In the nineteenth century, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, hops were introduced as a preserving ingredient, hence the birth of large-scale production.
Only in recent years are we seeing the rediscovery of craft beer
A high quality product
We reiterate that what distinguishes a craft beer from an industrial product is the fact that the latter is always filtered and pasteurized.
Basically, the differences that characterize a craft beer from an industrially brewed one are:
- The use of selected high-quality ingredients without the use of preservatives. A 100% natural product made using water, barley malt, hops and yeast;
- The production process, in the case of craft beer, involves very limited production and in an almost homemade manner where success relies on the skill of the master brewer. Experimentation and research strongly characterizes this productive sector. In the case of industrial beer, production is on a large scale with industrial machinery and no special studies are involved.
Craft brewers can be divided into three categories:
- microbreweries, which generally do not have a taproom and whose production is wholly or largely for sale to clubs and stores;
- brewpubs i.e., premises that produce beer for in-house consumption, often combined with food service activities.
- beer firms i.e., pre-existing plants that are leased to private individuals, who can then brew craft beer but in quantities not achievable with a normal home plant.
To date, there are about a thousand microbreweries in Italy while there are about three hundred beer firms. Craft brewing is an industry that may still have room for growth, albeit one that is strongly characterized by seasonality.
Good beer to all at www.saidaespressocialde.com/birre!