Last fall in Denver, Colorado, lots of people came together to try a lot of beer. The Great American Beer Festival welcomed more than 60,000 people who wanted to try all beers from around the world.
Participation in the event is just one example of the growing popularity of craft beer – made by small independent companies / brewers. In 2018, domestic sales hit a record $ 27.6 billion, or 24% of the U.S. beer market.
And according to the Brewers Association, there are 7,450 craft brewer in the U.S. alone, such as Fargo Brewing in North Dakota, Bells in Michigan, and Shipyard in Maine.
Marcus Doucet threw his hat into the crowded ring two years ago when he opened the Backyard Brewery in Manchester, New Hampshire. There are seven craft breweries in this city alone.
"Sunday Morning" producer Sara Kugel asked Doucet: "There are so many craft breweries out there. Were you not intimidated to start your own?"
"The opening got scary," he said. "It was nerve-wracking."
"An incredible thing in the craft beer community is that it's not so much a competition," he said. "When we all create unique but different styles but at a quality level, we share the same customers."
And for the most part, they share the same main ingredients.
"Essentially, beer consists of four ingredients – it will be water, it will be malt, it will be hops, and it will be yeast," said Doucet. "So you take these four things and change one of them, and the beer is essentially different."
But creating something unique often requires experimentation. Paul St. Onge is the chief master brewer who is responsible for finding ways for his brand to cause a sensation in the larger beer world. Sometimes he adds tea, sometimes special hops or fruit.
He explained how he made an English mild ale: "Malty, old English beer – we pour it with Earl Gray tea," he said.
Kugel asked Doucet: "How do you create something that tastes unique? I would think that all flavors are now covered."
"I mean, yes, you can say that. But it depends on the quality, the quality of your craftsmanship," Doucet replied. "I mean essentially two people could make the same beer, the same IPA, but a few different variations or variables can really change that, you know?"
The backyard brewery is still a small business. But Marcus Doucet definitely sees the glass half full.
"It kind of depends on what you can offer," he said. "If you are able to consistently offer delicious, high quality beers, you will make a name for yourself. You will be able to stand out."
For more information:
Story produced by Sara Kugel and Roman Feeser.