The Craft Beer Revolution
History can be a funny thing. While there is no denying that life unfolds just one way, the way it is interpreted by individuals can vary greatly, even if they are standing next to each other while it happens.
Hence the blurb offered by Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Co., makers of Samuel Adams, on the back of The Craft Beer Revolution: “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 an also-ran to the envy of the world.”
Hindy is the co-founder, chairman and president of the Brooklyn Brewery. He’s also an accomplished journalist, having served as a war correspondent for the Associated Press. As such, he’s used to criticisms (and more) being lobbed his way, and that quote from Koch will certainly stir up the curiosity among beer fans looking for a peek behind the curtain of the publicly collegial world of small brewers.
Hindy does not disappoint in The Craft Beer Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, Hardcover, $25, 272 pp). He tackles the issues of advertising, distribution, in-fighting, failures and fears. He also offers hope for the future, often in a defiant tone when talking about larger breweries and other obstacles, and, in the process, can sound like a general rallying troops.
Along the way Hindy interjects some first-person stories and opinions, giving a reader the sensation that the author is just sitting across the bar telling stories. This helps give the book a more conversational tone, and not one of a history textbook.
Given his place in the industry, Hindy has been privileged to many conversations and events that would have otherwise gone undocumented if not for this book. He even manages to humanize some fellow brewers by revealing hobbies and personal histories (Sam Calagione worked as a model before founding Dogfish Head; Gary Fish of Deschutes enjoys golfing).
The nature of the American beer industry is changing daily. It’s important to have books like this to remind us all where it came from and how it evolves. If insiders are correct, the next few years are going to be among the industry’s most transformational, and having these stories documented will be a great reminder of the past.
John is the editor of All About Beer Magazine and the author of three books, including The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Find him on Twitter @John_Holl.