I remember back in my college days when I did not care what type of beer I was drinking. I loved craft beer, but I did not have a passion for what was behind the craft. I was drinking beer the “college” way, which means the cheapest beer you can find. It was more about the company than the drinks in those days. It’s still that way, but now I love to enjoy an amazing beer with my friends. Craft beer is a little more expensive too. When I went traveling in Europe after college is when this mentality flourished.
Traveling is Important
Europe is such a great place to travel to. I traveled to 21 countries in Europe to explore their great food and beverages. I was impressed with all the food and drinks I had there. Even though I saw a few craft breweries there, I wanted to experience Europe in the most traditional way. How could I experience beer their way if I am consuming beer that I can get back at home? From what I experienced, they cared less about the innovation of different tastes and smells in beer as the West Coast in the United States does. They care about keeping traditions. In the end, don’t we all do this in some way? For certain things, we care less about innovation and more about keeping the traditions alive. That is what I thought, at least.
Tradition vs Innovation
I have recently read an explanation of Traditional vs Innovative thinking from Oxford Handbooks Online. It explains that Tradition and Innovation used to be described as opposites, but “it is now generally recognized that there is a close connection between the two.” They believe that this idea was included through cultural transmission from one person to another, or across generations through the ‘particularities’ from human memory.
It wasn’t until I found another article that I saw an example of this happening in the beer world. The title of the article is “Europe Now Dominates Craft Beer Innovation.” According to Mintel New Products Database, “In 2013 North America (Especially the US) dominated the craft beer industry, accounting for 52% of all craft beer retail launches compared to 29% in Europe. Since then, 54% of launches originate in Europe and 19% in the U.S.” Not only that, people now will pay more for smaller batches if the quality is better.
This brought me back to the beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Egypt’s style of beer was the same traditional beer, but with an innovative difference. The beer consumed was more satisfying. We as human beings innovate as we keep tradition from generation to generation. Judging from its long history, I thought Europe was just traditional, but it seems that they also needed innovation to flourish.
This is what really got me into researching about beer. There are so many types and so much history. It is a fun subject to research and I am glad to be sharing this with an audience.
Next, I will be exploring the different types of craft beer.
Hammer, Olav. “Tradition and Innovation.” Oxford Handbooks Online, 3 Nov. 2016, www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198729570.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780198729570-e-48.
Folk, Linda. “Europe Now Dominates Craft Beer Innovation.” Mintel, Mintel, 20 Sept. 2018, www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/europe-now-dominates-craft-beer-innovation.