With the continuing growth of craft beer sales at retail establishments, bars, and restaurants, more and more folks are deciding to brew their own. The American Homebrewers Association says at least 1.2 million Americans are now homebrewers. The Association's director, Gary Glass says, “That's one in 200 adults, which means just about everybody these days knows someone who is homebrewing."
And home brewers are getting younger too. Glass says it used to be people in their thirties and forties who were taking up the hobby, "But these days a sizable portion of the new homebrewers are coming out of the millennial generation.” And he says that change involves a motivational shift: “Twenty years ago, my motivating factor was there wasn’t a whole lot of selection out there. If I wanted a porter I couldn’t buy it – I had to make it. But that’s not true any more.” He says younger homebrewers, who can obviously get pretty much any kind of craft beer somewhere, are attracted by the opportunity to be creative, to brew something unique and different, and to share it with friends. After all, he says, “It’s a very social hobby.”
There's another demographic shift underway in the home brewing world as well - more women are giving it a try, many with their significant others. 30 percent of homebrewers surveyed by the association say they are brewing with a spouse or partner.
And Glass encourages anyone who loves beer to give home brewing a try. He says, "For the average non-homebrewer, the assumption is that it’s really hard or expensive and that’s really not true. Initial investment for a beginning homebrewer’s kit can be as low as eighty dollars." And he says making beginner's beers with extract can be almost as simple as making condensed soup on your stove. Of course, he adds, from there you can get as complex and complicated as you wish.
Glass encourages anyone thinking about homebrewing to take a look at the tutorials and videos on his organization's website at homebrewersassociation.org
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