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What beer can teach the church

on 15/08/12 at 11:48 am

Booze News

The local church isn’t the only institution faced with making difficult decisions in the turbulent, 21st century. Beer companies are facing a changing landscape as well. Except it appears that out of the changing market, the beer industry has found room for growth. Perhaps the church can learn a thing or two from craft brewers.

Some, admittedly, may not be too familiar with craft breweries. They grew out of the consolidation of “big beer” companies in the mid-20th century. Some estimated that by the close of the 20th century, only five breweries would remain. As American brewing dwindled in taste and size, a grassroots homebrewing culture emerged. Homebrewing began to thrive because in order to experience the beer of other cultures, they would have to make it themselves. Thus, homebrewing was born.

Fast forward to 2012. Though overall beer sales have decreased, craft beer has experienced an increase in the first half of 2012 — a 12 percent increase, to be exact. According to the Brewer’s Association there are now 2,126 craft breweries in the U.S., more than there have been since 1890. If you’re counting, there is about one new brewery opening every day.

Some religious groups have tapped the keg of craft brewing. Some congregations hold “Theology on Tap” gatherings to discuss religious and theological issues. Homebrewed Christianity has carried the metaphor into their podcasting as they hope to “encourage those who listen to journey towards a more beautiful life with God and the world.” Beyond visiting a taproom, what more can craft beer teach us?