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The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink
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The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink

by Steve Hindy
 

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Over the past 30 years craft-brewed beer has exploded in growth. In 1980, a handful of “microbrewery” pioneers launched a revolution that would challenge the dominance of the national brands, Budweiser, Coors, and Miller, and change the way Americans think about, and drink, beer. Today, there are more than 2,400 craft breweries in the United 

Overview

Over the past 30 years craft-brewed beer has exploded in growth. In 1980, a handful of “microbrewery” pioneers launched a revolution that would challenge the dominance of the national brands, Budweiser, Coors, and Miller, and change the way Americans think about, and drink, beer. Today, there are more than 2,400 craft breweries in the United  States and another  1,000 are in the works. Their influence is spreading to Europe’s great brewing nations, and to countries all over the globe. In The Craft Beer Revolution, Steve Hindy, co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery, tells the inside story of how a band of homebrewers and microbrewers came together to become one of America’s  great entrepreneurial  triumphs. Beginning with Fritz Maytag, scion of the washing  machine  company, and Jack McAuliffe, a US Navy submariner who developed  a passion for real beer while  serving in Scotland, Hindy tells the story of hundreds of creative businesses like Deschutes Brewery, New Belgium, Dogfish Head, and Harpoon. He shows how their individual and collective efforts have combined to grab 10 percent of the dollar share of the US beer market. Hindy also explores how Budweiser, Miller, and Coors, all now owned by international conglomerates, are creating their own craft-style beers, the same way major food companies have acquired or created smaller organic labels to court credibility with a new generation of discerning eaters and drinkers. This is a timely and fascinating look at what America’s new generation of entrepreneurs can learn from the intrepid pioneering brewers who are transforming the way Americans enjoy this wonderful, inexpensive, storied beverage: beer.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
03/15/2014
Amid the recent spate of guides to specialty beers there has been an absence of a solid history of craft brewing in the United States. Hindy, a former journalist and cofounder of the renowned Brooklyn Brewery, attempts to fill that need with this title. His insider perspective on the past few decades of making beer in America reveals underlying tensions, struggles for market share, a gamut of personalities, and successes and failures. The narrative moves quickly, and the reader may occasionally lose the thread or get bogged down in all the names. It sometimes feels more like Hindy's story rather than of craft brewing. Still, he spotlights key players, such as Boston Beer Company's Jim Koch. More important, he provides a real sense of how these brewers had to overcome obstacles such as competition from the companies with major market share or unfavorable legislation, especially related to distribution and sales. VERDICT An appealing but uneven complement to recent craft brewery guides. Recommended for collections where books on beer are popular.—Peter Hepburn, Coll. of the Canyons Lib., Santa Clarita, CA
Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-18
Former journalist and Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Hindy (co-author: Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery, 2005) considers craft beers and the innovators who brought them to the wider American and global markets from the 1960s to the present. Beginning with an account of Fritz Maytag, the force behind San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Company, the author draws from choice interviews, magazines such as All About Beer, anecdotes and related ephemera to explore a variety of topics. These include the legalization of home brewing in 1979; seminal writers in the early days of the practice, such as Charlie Papazian (The Complete Joy of Homebrewing) and Michael Jackson (The World Guide to Beer); the frequent path from homebrewing to microbrewery and brewpub startups; forerunners, including Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Company; and numerous profiles of second- and third-generation brewers. With extensive passages devoted to the intricacies of formulating standards, initial challenges in establishing camaraderie among brewers, relationships with distributors, the sometimes-negative view of contract brewers and responses to media-fueled "wars" with larger corporations such as Anheuser-Busch, this is a book for intense aficionados. Thorough surveys of the field—from descriptions of actions by the Association of Brewers and other organizations to play-by-plays of particular company sales—reveal an insider's dedication to the business. For the generalist, chapters that emphasize the can-do spirit embodied by men and women who gambled on their dreams, and that reveal a frequent interest in giving back to the communities that supported them, offer more interesting, personal stories. Despite tensions between craft brewers, what emerges is a revolution marked by "a band of Davids" bent on confronting the "Goliaths." Hindy balances reverence with realism, resulting in a vigorous, if sometimes overly meticulous genealogy of the burgeoning world of craft beer.
President and CEO of the National Beer Wholesalers Craig Purser

The Craft Beer Revolution is a great American success story, told from the front row seat of Brooklyn Brewery cofounder Steve Hindy. The book shows an industry of brewers and distributors that is great because of the goodness of its people. Hindy entertains the reader with wonderful portraits of the people involved. The book is part high school yearbook and part Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff." It shows us an industry that is being transformed and still works well for all involved, most importantly the consumer.
From the Publisher

“[A] shaggy little history of the craft beer industry…at once a tribute to its loose-limbed entrepreneurs and an airing of their familiar frustrations and triumphs.” —The New York Times

“Hindy offers insights and glimpses only someone deep behind the lines could provide. Part of what makes his book feel fresh is his depiction of how little those involved early on were aware of where they were headed or how successful or influential they would ultimately be…. Hindy's explanation of the complex, often fraught ecosystem behind all those bottles will make whichever one you choose taste a bit more like victory.” —The Wall Street Journal

“The Craft Beer Revolution is a great read…And he does a nice job doing what he set out to do -- telling us, in an easy-to-take way, how ‘breweries across America got your favorite artisanal suds into your mug at your local pub, and how these craft brewers developed a community that sparked a worldwide revolution.'” —Fortune

“The stories of the craft brewers--such as Fritz Maytag of Anchor Steam and Jim Koch of Sam Adams--featured in the book are engrossing, but what I find most interesting about this story is the evolution of the beer industry, and the lessons it might hold for the big players in other industries.” —Strategy+Business

“Hindy balances reverence with realism, resulting in a vigorous... genealogy of the burgeoning world of craft beer.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A serious and important work.” —Domestic Craft Beer Corner

“This is a wonderful story of the rebirth of the American brewing industry written by one of the entrepreneurs who helped make it happen. I once mused that one day there would be a brewery in every city in America. It is happening much more quickly than I ever imagined.” —Fritz Maytag, Former owner, Anchor Brewing Co.

“The Craft Beer Revolution is a must-read for any beer lover or liquid locavore who cares to know how and why so many remarkable choices exist for those who want their beer to taste like where it was brewed. Steve Hindy has been at the center of the revolution from the beginning, and his authoritative and entertaining report shares the back-, mid-, and front-stories of the pioneers who have given us the gift of craft beer.” —Danny Meyer, Restaurateur and Author, Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

“What an engaging wander through a fascinating contemporary history! Steve Hindy artfully fills in the blanks on some of the greatest entrepreneurial stories of America's craft breweries and the iconoclastic cast of characters involved in this movement, while also rewarding us with new, never-before-told tales. Altogether a marvelous read.” —Kim Jordan, Cofounder and CEO, New Belgium Brewing Co

“Who better to chronicle the history of the craft beer revolution than a former reporter and founder of one of the country's seminal craft breweries? Steve was there and lived it, and he tells the fascinating story of how craft beer turned an industry like only an insider could. The Craft Beer Revolution reads like a thriller--I couldn't put it down.” —Harry Schuhmacher, Publisher, Beer Business Daily

“While Steve Hindy and I still disagree about many things, including some of his stories in this book, no one has done a better job of bringing to life the cast of characters who created the craft beer revolution. He does a great job of telling the story of how American beer went from also ran to the envy of the world.” —Jim Koch, Founder and Chairman, Boston Beer Co

“A lively, entertaining history by an insider. Steve Hindy portrays colorfully and knowledgeably the people who created the new breweries and the new beers. It's a compelling story of the craft beer revolution, a phenomenal flowering of American entrepreneurship.” —Jerry Steinman, Founder, Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS

“Steve's position in the craft industry puts him in a unique position--he both grew alongside it as an owner of Brooklyn Brewery and helped steer its course as an active Brewers Association member. He very accurately depicts the craft revolution's highs and lows and the camaraderie, challenging to maintain at times, that underlies it all.” —Ken Grossman, Cofounder and CEO, Sierra Nevada BC

“Balance. It's a desired trait in the brewing world. That perfectly comforting zone created through the interplay of hops and barley. Steve Hindy has found the equivalent space as a beer-journalist-slash-brewing-pioneer in his book The Craft Beer Revolution. Combining entertaining doses of craft brewing history with approachable descriptions of the brewers art and the fearless exploration of these entrepreneurs who changed the face of American brewing. A delicious and session-able read.” —Sam Calagione, Founder & President, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

“Steve Hindy weaves a vivid mix of passionate advocacy and cold hard journalism to describe the disruption which occurred first to large brewers, and now to small brewers grown big. The Craft Beer Revolution is a fascinating and entertaining read, revealing the idiosyncrasies and passion of the players who built the movement. If you love beer, you have to read it!” —Tom Long, CEO, MillerCoors

“The rise of the American craft beer movement is one of the greatest business stories of all time. As a founding father and one hell of a writer, Steve weaves an amazing story of innovation and imagination that is truly unique to the world.” —Dolf Vandenbrink, CEO, Heineken USA

“With great passion and creativity, a generation of new American brewers is elevating the status of beer in the culinary world. The Craft Beer Revolution is the compelling inside story of their rise.” —Dr. Tim Ryan, CEO, The Culinary Institute of America

“The Craft Beer Revolution has captivated the imagination of the Media, Wall Street, and Big Beer, as well as the attention, minds and hearts of the consumer. Hindy's history, research, real-life experience and story-telling ability paint an accurate picture of how this movement got started and what propelled it to its current heights. It's been a great ride for craft brewers, and this is a great read!” —Gary Fish, Founder & CEO, Deschutes Brewery and Chairman, Brewers Association

“The craft beer revolution, the most exciting development in the beer industry since the birth of lager beer in the 19th Century, now has its chronicler. Steve Hindy tells the story as only a skilled journalist and an important player in the revolution could tell it. For decades going forward, this will be an important book for those who want to understand this transformative business story.” —Daniel Bradford, Publisher, All About Beer magazine

“Steve Hindy brings a war-tested reporter's journalistic skill and a veteran insider's perspective to the good beer story, making his new book, The Craft Beer Revolution, compelling. This book is an essential resource and a great read not only for those of us who participated in the craft beer renaissance, but also for a new generation of brewers and beer enthusiasts thirsting for the real story.” —Tom Dalldorf, Publisher, Celebrator Beer News

“A lively, entertaining history by an insider. Steve Hindy portrays colorfully and knowledgeably the people who created the new breweries and the new beers. It's a compelling story of the craft beer revolution, a phenomenal flowering of American entrepreneurship.” —Jerry Steinman, Founder, Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS

“Steve's position in the craft industry puts him in a unique position--he both grew alongside it as an owner of Brooklyn Brewery and helped steer its course as an active Brewers Association member. He very accurately depicts the craft revolution's highs and lows and the camaraderie, challenging to maintain at times, that underlies it all.” —Ken Grossman, Cofounder and CEO, Sierra Nevada BC

“Balance. It's a desired trait in the brewing world. That perfectly comforting zone created through the interplay of hops and barley. Steve Hindy has found the equivalent space as a beer-journalist-slash-brewing-pioneer in his book The Craft Beer Revolution. Combining entertaining doses of craft brewing history with approachable descriptions of the brewers art and the fearless exploration of these entrepreneurs who changed the face of American brewing. A delicious and session-able read.” —Sam Calagione, Founder & President, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

“Steve Hindy weaves a vivid mix of passionate advocacy and cold hard journalism to describe the disruption which occurred first to large brewers, and now to small brewers grown big. The Craft Beer Revolution is a fascinating and entertaining read, revealing the idiosyncrasies and passion of the players who built the movement. If you love beer, you have to read it!” —Tom Long, CEO, MillerCoors

“The rise of the American craft beer movement is one of the greatest business stories of all time. As a founding father and one hell of a writer, Steve weaves an amazing story of innovation and imagination that is truly unique to the world.” —Dolf Vandenbrink, CEO, Heineken USA

“With great passion and creativity, a generation of new American brewers is elevating the status of beer in the culinary world. The Craft Beer Revolution is the compelling inside story of their rise.” —Dr. Tim Ryan, CEO, The Culinary Institute of America

“The Craft Beer Revolution has captivated the imagination of the Media, Wall Street, and Big Beer, as well as the attention, minds and hearts of the consumer. Hindy's history, research, real-life experience and story-telling ability paint an accurate picture of how this movement got started and what propelled it to its current heights. It's been a great ride for craft brewers, and this is a great read!” —Gary Fish, Founder & CEO, Deschutes Brewery and Chairman, Brewers Association

“The craft beer revolution, the most exciting development in the beer industry since the birth of lager beer in the 19th Century, now has its chronicler. Steve Hindy tells the story as only a skilled journalist and an important player in the revolution could tell it. For decades going forward, this will be an important book for those who want to understand this transformative business story.” —Daniel Bradford, Publisher, All About Beer magazine

“Steve Hindy brings a war-tested reporter's journalistic skill and a veteran insider's perspective to the good beer story, making his new book, The Craft Beer Revolution, compelling. This book is an essential resource and a great read not only for those of us who participated in the craft beer renaissance, but also for a new generation of brewers and beer enthusiasts thirsting for the real story.” —Tom Dalldorf, Publisher, Celebrator Beer News

The Craft Beer Revolution is a great American success story, told from the front row seat of Brooklyn Brewery cofounder Steve Hindy. The book shows an industry of brewers and distributors that is great because of the goodness of its people. Hindy entertains the reader with wonderful portraits of the people involved. The book is part high school yearbook and part Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff." It shows us an industry that is being transformed and still works well for all involved, most importantly the consumer. ” —Craig Purser, President and CEO of the National Beer Wholesalers Association

“Steve Hindy is a pioneer, visionary and tireless advocate for the craft beer industry. His extensive background as a journalist coupled with his experience and passion for the craft beer industry result in a fascinating and most interesting perspective of the last six decades of a dynamic and colorful industry. Steve captures both the makings of a craft beer revolution and more recent evolution of the industry as a whole. I applaud Steve for this great work, his tireless commitment to this wonderful industry and congratulate all those that make this such a great and unique business.” —Bill Hackett, President, Crown Imports LLC

“This book serves as a great history lesson about how craft brewing has changed the beer industry and captivated consumers. Through innovation and meeting customers' demands craft brewers have grown far beyond their niche and now own a sizeable piece of the beer market, once controlled by a select group of larger breweries. As this trend has grown, it's consumers that have been the real winner as unique craft beers are now an important part of any culinary experience. Steve has written a book drawing from his incredible expertise as a true trail blazer in the industry, focused on how to not only make great beer but how to gain respect and notoriety when brewing.” —Scott Crawford, Executive Coordinator of Purchasing, Whole Foods Market Northeast Region

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781137278760
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/22/2014
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
896,052
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Craft Beer Revolution

How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink


By Steve Hindy

Palgrave Macmillan

Copyright © 2014 Steve Hindy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-137-43788-4



CHAPTER 1

THE PIONEERS

1965–1984

1965: 1 microbrewery 182 national and regional breweries

1984: 18 microbreweries 76 noncraft national and regional breweries


In the beginning there was Fritz Maytag. And for more than a decade, he stood alone. He was the pioneer. Others followed — in the West, there was Jack McAuliffe, Jane Zimmerman, and Suzy Denison of New Albion Brewing Company, the first home-built microbrewery; Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Randolph Ware and David Hummer of the Boulder Beer Company; the Cartwright Brewing Company; Bert Grant of Yakima Brewing and Malting Co.; and the Independent Ale Brewery (Redhook) in Seattle, Washington. In the East, there was Matthew Reich of the Old New York Brewing Co., the pioneer of contract brewing, and Bill Newman of Wm. S. Newman Brewing Co. But Fritz Maytag started it all.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary a pioneer is "one of a body of foot-soldiers who march with or in advance of an army or regiment, having spades, pickaxes, etc. to dig trenches, repair roads, and perform other labours in clearing and preparing the way for the main body."

I am quite sure that Fritz Maytag and the others did not think of themselves as "preparing the way for the main body," but that's what they did in the 1960s and 1970s. They built the foundation for the craft brewing movement, which, as I write, includes more than 2,700 breweries and accounts for a rich 6.5 percent of the US beer market by volume and more than 10 percent by dollar. They laid down the enduring principles of smallness, independence, and all malt beers (as opposed to the rice and corn additives favored by the national brewers). They figured out how they had to price their beer to make their companies viable. Maytag was generous with his time, advice, and even ingredients when others came to visit his brewery in San Francisco.

Almost all of us in the movement think of ourselves as pioneers in our home markets. And we were. The breweries that opened subsequently played important roles in building a market for craft beer in America. All of us knew what it was like to confront a barroom full of Bud/Miller/Coors drinkers who turned up their noses at our dark and flavorful beers, our hoppy beers, our strong beers.

But it must have been even more difficult in 1965 when Maytag bought the failing Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco. At the time microbrewed beers, or craft beers, did not exist. There were no domestic beers competing with the foreign imports. The import segment itself was growing in the United States, but that was because sophisticated drinkers already recognized it as "better beer." Fritz Maytag and his cohorts had to make it all up, the same way the early settlers did when they pushed their wagons across the Allegheny Mountains.

First off, I have a confession to make. In my early days in the craft brewing industry, I did not understand the adoration afforded Fritz Maytag. I guess it was a class thing. After all, he was the grandson of Frederick Louis Maytag, founder of the Maytag Washing Machine Company, the gold standard of washing machines in the United States, known everywhere for its TV ads with a dozing Maytag repairman who had nothing to do because Maytag washing machines were so darn sturdy and reliable. Fritz's father, Frederick Louis Maytag II, developed Maytag Blue Cheese, an American original based on the French Roquefort style.

Fritz Louis Maytag III was educated at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and then got a degree in American literature from Stanford. He dressed in tweedy jackets and button-down shirts. He wore wire-rimmed glasses and spoke with a mellifluous baritone that commanded attention. And he was a Maytag.

I remember saying to my colleagues, "I don't see what the fuss about Fritz Maytag is. He is an heir to the Maytag Washing Machine Company. He is playing with different sheet music than the rest of us."

How wrong I was. I apologize, Fritz. Those of us in the "main body," as I'll call the band of brewers that followed the pioneers, are so fortunate to have had Maytag out in front. Over the years he gave spellbinding speeches at Craft Brewers' Conferences. He elevated our passion for brewing. He quoted Euripides and Aeschylus speaking of the honor of being a brewer. He chided the contract brewers for being fake brewers because they contracted with other breweries to produce their beer, but he applauded them for educating the public about good beer. When we bitched about beer distributors, he reminded us that the three-tier legal system — which in many states prevents brewers from owning distributors and retail outlets — protects the independence of distributors and impedes big brewers' ability to create monopolies, allowing independent brewers to cut into the market.

Years later I got to know Maytag better when we both served on the board of the BAA. Fritz was a treasure for the craft brewing movement. And he arguably was the forerunner not just for microbrewing, but the entire DIY movement that includes cheese making, winemaking, and distilling.

But back to the story.

In the early 1960s Maytag spent some time in Japan after he graduated from college, but he soon moved to San Francisco, the ultraliberal city that was the epicenter of the hippie movement. Haight-Ashbury was ground zero for the "tune in, turn on, drop out" culture of the LSD advocate Dr. Timothy Leary. I didn't know Maytag at that time, but I doubt LSD drew him to San Francisco. He did have a full beard, but he declined to talk to me about the '60s.

Maytag, seventy-four, shared his story with fifty-seven-year-old Grossman, cofounder of Sierra Nevada, at the 2011 Craft Brewers Conference in San Francisco. Grossman was a student of Maytag's early work, but the two deserve equal credit for founding the craft brewing industry. The interview provides important insights into the early brewing experience of both men.

"I actually got into brewing before I got into the wine world, just barely but a little before," Maytag said, sitting in a comfortable easy chair before the audience of small brewers. "I used to hang out at an old place in San Francisco called the Old Spaghetti Factory — those who knew it remember it well. It was a charming place. And it was the equivalent of my local, as they would say in England. I would go there in the evening for a few beers before bed, meet with friends most every night. And one day the owner, Fred Kuh, asked me if I had ever been to the Anchor brewery and said they were closing down that next weekend, and he thought I should go see it before it was closed because it was the kind of thing I would like.

"And I later realized he was hoping I would either loan them some money or buy in or something, and that's what happened. I went down. I sat in the taproom with the owner-manager guy, Lawrence Steese, lovely man, and I just fell in love. I've often said you don't get up in the morning and think you are going to fall in love today. I had no idea I would buy the brewery when I went. But before the day was out, we had done a deal."

Not too many people could fall in love and buy a piece of a brewery just like that. But Maytag could.

Grossman quickly followed with the question: "Your family think you were nuts?"

Maytag replied: "Yeah, but they thought I was kind of goofy anyway. ... My father had actually died a very young man in 1962, so he was not there. I think if he had been around, he would have realized any business is better than no business at all."

Eleven years after Maytag bought Anchor, Grossman started running a bicycle shop in Chico, California. He said he could have bought the shop, but he thought he would be bored for the rest of his life. So instead he started a home-brew shop, selling equipment and ingredients, "which wasn't a great way to make a livelihood either. ... Getting into the brewing business sounded like an exciting career. I'm sure that has been an inspiration for a lot of people here. Brewing beer is a great thing to do with your life."

Maytag asked what Grossman's family thought about his building a brewery.

"They thought I was nuts," Grossman said, "They just stopped thinking that a few years ago." Sierra Nevada expected to pass the million-barrel sales mark in 2013 (a barrel of beer is thirty-one gallons, or about fourteen cases of twenty-four twelve-ounce bottles of beer) and is building a $120 million state-of-the-art brewery in Ashville, North Carolina.

Maytag recalled brewing about a thousand barrels of beer that first year. Anchor was the smallest brewery in America. The Anchor brewhouse was fifty-five barrels, and the company only brewed one or two brews a month. "We brewed more than we sold because it turned sour before we could sell it sometimes," he said.

"Well, I invested in the Anchor brewery," he said. "I was the majority owner, not the sole owner. And I was absolutely amazed at the idea of owning a brewery. And I knew about the Brewers' Association of America [BAA], and I knew they had a convention, and I was in Chicago at that time for another reason. I actually snuck into the convention. I never told anyone who I was, and there were all these big important guys in double-breasted suits and badges and I don't know what-all, and there were exhibits of beer signs, and I just snuck around thinking, 'Wow, I am part of this, I guess,' and then I left. But I then did next year go to the convention, which was the first year they held it in Fort Lauderdale. It had been in Chicago for many years. ...

"We went one year to Florida, and the Budweiser distributors were having their convention nearby, and I went over there and some of their yachts were bigger than my brewery."

The BAA was the trade association for small US brewers. It was started in 1942, when the government started rationing commodities like tin for World War II, by Bill O'Shea, owner of a printing company that made labels for many breweries. Small brewers came together to demand their share of the metal to make bottle caps. After the war, the BAA continued to represent small brewers' interests in Washington, DC.

When Fritz Maytag invested in Anchor, the United States had fewer than fifty breweries, and the family-run breweries were losing out to large breweries like Anheuser-Busch (AB) and Miller that were shipping and advertising their beers nationally. The Adolph Coors Company brewery was stubbornly regional at the time, but it too would go national in the 1980s. The large national breweries had a huge advantage of scale. They could use their size to buy large quantities of raw materials at lower prices. They could also use mass marketing budgets to sell the idea that their beer was better than the local stuff over TV and radio ads: "Our beer is so special we ship it all the way from St. Louis and Milwaukee to you." The use of corn and rice additives — a cheaper alternative to malted barley adjuncts that also extended the beer's shelf life — was ubiquitous even among family-run breweries. Anchor was the only brewery making all-malt beer.

Grossman asked Maytag about his first experience selling Anchor Steam Beer, a rich malty brew that was completely different from what most Americans drank at the time.

"Well, yeah, it was a tough row to hoe," said Maytag. "All the small American brewers, the small family brewers, were making very mild, light lager beers, and so the idea of having an all-malt, hoppy brew as a domestic was just unheard of. But the imports, bless their hearts — that was the category, that was the umbrella that I used to think of. Price-wise, we would be at the import price, or just below, and in terms of character and flavor, and styles, some of [the imports] were dark. Some of them were flavorful. Most of them were not. Most of them were very, very mild. If you think about it, the imports were all lagers, but there was the Mackeson Stout, the Guinness Stout, even the Dos Equis, and that was the story we told — 'Look, there are different beers for different times, and if you are going to sit by the fire and read a book, you want something you can chew on, like we did.'"

I think it safe to say most San Franciscans stuck with their Budweiser or Miller or Hamm's or Bergy or Lucky Lager. But some fell in love with Anchor Steam. My neighbor in Brooklyn, Charley Ryan, is the co-owner of Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley with a stage and performance space that serves great food and only carries beer from Brooklyn breweries. Charley was living in San Francisco in 1972, and he recalls buying kegs of Anchor Steam Beer for his parties.

"That beer was so rich, so fresh, so different," he recalled. "There was nothing else like it. The flavors were so vivid. It still colors my memory of San Francisco." Charley became a lifelong advocate of microbrewed and, later, craft brewed beer, thanks to Fritz Maytag and Anchor Steam beer.

Maytag, meanwhile, longed to bottle his beer. For years, he only sold his beer in kegs.

"As I look back on my earliest days in the brewing business, I used to eat dinner at a place called the Brighton Express, and they had a beautiful, beautiful black stout, Mackeson Stout. I used to sit — I'd come in from the brewery late in the evening, and I'd sit there at the communal table, and I'd have a Mackeson Stout, in a bottle, with a label, and I'd dream of the day our little brewery would be successful. And I loved those beers."

Grossman met Maytag in 1978 when Maytag did a tour of the Anchor Brewery for participants in the first wine and craft beer trade show, held in San Francisco. In those early days, Maytag encouraged Grossman to attend a BAA meeting.

"I remember encouraging you to come, and the one reason was, a small English brewer once said to me, 'The big guys come by every now and then and have a giggle.' No doubt they snickered a little behind our backs. But in fact, to our faces, and very genuinely, they welcomed us. And it was thrilling to feel welcomed to a trade. I'm sure you had the same experience."

Fritz recalled meeting many of the family brewers, including Warren Marti of August Schell Brewing Company; F. X. Matt of the Matt Brewing Company; Bill Leinenkugel of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. Their regionally focused companies were under siege from the big national brewers, but he recalled a "cheerful camaraderie" among them.

"I mean, these were grand old brewing families, they loved getting together," Maytag said.

Grossman was just beginning to think of starting a brewery when he attended his first BAA meeting in the early 1980s.

"I was just a home brewer, so for me it was a whole new experience to meet and hang out with people who had run breweries for generations. I remember being a bit — feeling an outsider and also a little bit concerned because [industry analyst] Bob Weinberg had come out with some statement saying by the year 2000 there would only be two or three breweries left in America, and here he is the smartest brewing industry analyst. He got his PhD when he was nineteen. He's predicting my demise, and I'd go to that convention every year, and there would be a few less breweries, and everyone is talking about how terrible the industry is. I was a bit concerned the first few years." (Weinberg was partly right: by 2013 AB- InBev and MillerCoors would control about 74 percent of the US beer market.)

Both Grossman and Maytag recalled that small and large brewers were helpful to them during their early days.

Maytag said he believed they were collegial because these brewers were not directly competing with each other.

"Each had survived because it was in a rural area, often with a German population, significant German element, German oriented, and in general they didn't compete with each other. ... So there was a sense of brotherhood without the competitive aspect. And that was part of it there. Among the big brewers, I always remember when we called Miller in Los Angeles and asked if we could come and see something, and they said no. I was absolutely horrified, and it had started when Budweiser and Miller went after each other, dueling to the death. ... I don't remember what year it was, probably the early eighties or late seventies. That was the first time any brewer ever said no."

He was referring to the 1970s when AB and Miller Brewing Company bitterly accused each other of using chemical additives in their beers. They fought their battles in national advertisements on television and radio — the powerful weapons of the big brewers.

Another aspect of Maytag's experience that all craft brewers can identify with, even today, is the challenge of distribution.

"We had self-distributed from the beginning," Maytag said. (In some states, there are exceptions to the three-tier system that allow brewers to distribute their own beer.) "As far as I know, Anchor had never had a distributor, and when we got involved in 1965, we certainly did all our distributing, and the markup — we could not possibly have afforded the middleman in there, so we did all the delivering and all the rest of it. In fact, when we started bottling, which was in 1971 ... my key person, the guy who did the delivering, announced that he was going to work for the church or something. And so I did all the deliveries. And it did not take me long to understand the value of a beer distributor. We would have one account in San Jose, and one in Walnut Creek, and one in Santa Rosa, and if you drive all the way to Walnut Creek to deliver one keg of beer, it doesn't take you long to realize you need some help.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Craft Beer Revolution by Steve Hindy. Copyright © 2014 Steve Hindy. Excerpted by permission of Palgrave Macmillan.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Stephen Hindy is the author of Beer School and co-founder, chairman and president of Brooklyn Brewery, one of America’s top 20 breweries. A former journalist, he became interested in homebrewing while serving as a Beirutbased Middle East Correspondent for the Associated Press. He and Brooklyn Brewery have been featured in The New York Times, the New York Post, Crain’s New York Business, New York magazine, CNN, The Huffington Post, and countless beer blogs and specialty publications. Hindy is a member of the Board of Directors of the Beer Institute and the Brewers Association. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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