The term microbrewery originally originated in the
United Kingdom during the late 1970s. Though it
was originally used to reflect on the size of the
breweries, it gradually came to reflect a different
attitude and approach to adaptability, flexibility,
experimentation, and customer service.
The term eventually spread to the United States,
where it was eventually used to indicate a brewery
that produces no less than 15,000 barrels of beer
per year. The term microbrewery is now falling
out of touch in the United States, as the term
craft brewer is preferred.
During the early twentieth century, prohibition drove
a majority of the breweries into bankruptcy because
they couldn’t rely on selling bogus wine as
wineries of that era previously did. After going
through several decades of consolidation of
breweries, most commercial American beer produced
by a few large companies, resulting in a mild
tasting lager of which Budweiser is a great example.
Some beer drinks will consequently crave a variety
and turn to homebrewing and eventually start doing
it on a much larger scale. When they need inspiration
they’ll turn to Britain, Germany, and Belgium where
centuries old tradition of artisan beer and cask
ale production have never died out.
The popularity behind these products was the fact
that they trend was spread quickly, and hundreds
of smaller breweries popped up, attached to a bar
where the product could be enjoyed by all. As
microbrews gained in popularity, some became more
than just simple microbrews, as they catered to a
broader range of beer.
Normally, American microbreweries will distribute
through wholesalers in traditional three tier
systems, then act as their own distributor and
sell to retailers. Selling includes tap rooms,
restaurants, or even off premise sales.