The Audacity of Hops: The History of America's Craft Beer Revolution

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Overview

In 1975, there was one craft brewery in the United States; today, there are more than 2,000. Powered by millions of savvy, devoted consumers and raking in billions of dollars annually for producers and retailers, the American craft beer movement has changed the brewing industry and the international reputation of American beer. It has upended the Big Beer giants that once seemed untouchable and forever altered the culinary habits of not only millions of Americans but millions ...
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The Audacity of Hops: The History of America's Craft Beer Revolution

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Overview

In 1975, there was one craft brewery in the United States; today, there are more than 2,000. Powered by millions of savvy, devoted consumers and raking in billions of dollars annually for producers and retailers, the American craft beer movement has changed the brewing industry and the international reputation of American beer. It has upended the Big Beer giants that once seemed untouchable and forever altered the culinary habits of not only millions of Americans but millions more worldwide.

This delicious story of plucky triumph has never been chronicled in one volume—until now.

Based on thorough research as well as interviews with all of the most influential names in craft brewing since the 1960s, The Audacity of Hops brims with charming, remarkable tales, which together weave a very American business story, one of formidable odds and refreshing success.

The Audacity of Hops will be the holiday and birthday gift for every craft-beer lover—indeed, for anyone who loves fine food and drink, and the people behind them. Entertaining and accessible, this book is the first of its kind: the definitive, highly praised history of the other American revolution.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1965, America only had one craft brewery: San Francisco's Anchor Steam. By 2012 there were over 2,000 and growing. Journalist and beer-lover Acitelli's exceptional document of this remarkable growth profiles the brewers, breweries, and brewhounds that have played a part in today's booming craft beer industry. Acitelli talks to dozens of brewers and beer enthusiasts in order to share his tale, deftly weaving multiple narratives into a larger whole, incorporating the stories of homebrewing, the Slow Food movement, the evolution of America's drinking habits, the rise of brewpubs, and the role of beer evangelists like Englishman Michael Jackson and Jim Koch, giving readers a 360-degree view of the subject by chopping it into short, digestible chapters. It's an ingenious means of telling a story with so many influential characters, and Acitelli pulls it off, with an eye for detail and a nose for drama. He even illustrates how massive breweries like Budweiser and Coors responded to the craft brew trend by creating imitations of iconic styles and trying to pass them off as craft beers. Acitelli knows his material and he's sure to keep readers engaged while they work up a mighty thirst. 29 b&w photos. (May)
From the Publisher

“This is the story of how the ‘Kingdom of Beer’ was returned to the drinker. It’s about the nurturing of the beer epiphany in a time when word of a revolution in the making was passed on one glass of brew at a time. The Audacity of Hops is an absorbing reflection on what goes into every professional craft-brewed beer in America. Impassioned millions have taken the kingdom back.”  —Charlie Papazian, founder of the American Homebrewers Association and author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing 

“Everyone who cares about good beer owes Tom Acitelli a huge thanks: his history of American craft beer is lively, substantive, and thoughtful.”  —Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer

"Excellent history of the American craft brewing movement."  —Slate

“Mr. Acitelli’s exhaustive chronicle of the American beer revolution . . . lovingly told.”  —The Wall Street Journal

“Highly quaffable and enjoyable. You can crack open a section or two, pore over it for an hour or so, and familiarize yourself with the moments and luminaries who contributed heavily to the American brewing renaissance. Heady stuff.”  —Sam Calagione, president and founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and author of Brewing Up a Business

“[Tom Acitelli]’s thorough research into the craft beer revolution tells a great story and shows how a ragtag yet purposeful group of passionate individuals can build an industry. He did an amazing job capturing the characters, improbable tales, and astounding passion that make up the craft brewing community.”  —Ken Grossman, founder, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

"A lot of beer books come across my desk, but few are as thorough, well-researched and approachable as The Audacity of Hops. Author Tom Acitelli takes a reporter's approach to telling the story of the rise of craft beer in America."  —Evan S. Benn, Esquire magazine beer columnist

"Journalist and beer-lover Acitelli's exceptional document of this remarkable growth profiles the brewers, breweries, and brewhounds that have played a part in today's booming craft beer industry . . . It's an ingenious means of telling a story with so many influential characters, and Acitelli pulls it off, with an eye for detail and a nose for drama."  —Publishers Weekly

 

Library Journal
The history of craft beer in America is one of successes and failures, of iconic brewers whose brands became household names, and of pioneers whose ventures never caught on. Acitelli's first book is a comprehensive look at craft beer from the 1960s onward, from its birth out of the home brewing movement to ultimately revitalize an industry—and the drinking habits of millions. The author traces craft brewing's passage from an unorthodox business decision to a potentially logical investment. His book provides the histories of dozens of breweries, from familiar names to more obscure, long-shuttered institutions, and takes in numerous industry-wide controversies. The Audacity of Hops will tell you all you need to know about the debate over contract brewing, for instance. And, like books as disparate as Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and Michael Azzerad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, this title also documents the point when an underground movement suddenly becomes part of the world it existed to defy. VERDICT This book is an informative, comprehensive look at the roots and evolution of something many beer drinkers take for granted.—Tobias Carroll, Brooklyn
Kirkus Reviews
A new history on the resurgence of craft beers and home-brewing in America from 1965 to 2012, tracing the pioneering efforts of individuals coast to coast, as well as their influence worldwide. Former New York Observer senior editor and current All About Beer contributor Acitelli offers a surprisingly engrossing, lively narrative on the tenacity of smaller outfits amid the dominant corporate brands, "a story populated by quintessential American characters: heroes and villains, hippies and yuppies, oenophiles and teetotalers, gangsters and G-men, men in kilts and men in suits, advances and retreats, long nights of the soul and giddy moments of triumph." He covers lagers, pilsners, ales and other beers produced after Prohibition and examines the stories behind their creation. He carefully explores the personages who offered distinctive alternatives to products by Coors, Anheuser-Busch and other mass-produced labels, revealing the challenges they faced, from turning out consistent, signature tastes inspired by historic recipes to reaching wider markets with an independent spirit that often eschewed advertising. In the first section, the author alternates among profiles of some of the early figures in American craft beers--including the owner of San Francisco's Anchor Steam company, Fritz Maytag, and Jack McAuliffe of The New Albion Brewing Company--and their fellow enthusiasts overseas, such as Michael Jackson, author of The World Guide to Beer. In the second section, Acitelli traces shifts in craft beers and home-brewing after Congress legalized the practice (which had been illegal since the 1930s but largely overlooked); the rise and demise of other microbreweries during the 1980s; continuing parallels with the locavore movement; increasing interest from venture capitalists; and related topics. In the third and fourth sections, the author further chronicles hurdles and successes, culminating in a tribute to McAuliffe. An invaluable resource for connoisseurs. General readers will find the topic exhaustive yet accessible.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613743881
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2013
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 231,541
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Tom Acitelli has written widely about beer, including as a regular contributor to All About Beer, the brewing industry’s leading trade magazine. He was a senior editor at the New York Observer, New York City’s leading weekly newspaper, for five years. Acitelli has also written for the New York Times, the New York Post, Town & Country, and Redbook.
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