Welcome to the very first installment of what will be a weekly beer newsletter. My name is Nate Ilaoa and I am opening up a small craft beer brewpub here in American Samoa called Flying Fox Brewing Company LLC. I thought I'd focus this first entry on helping folks understand exactly what a craft beer is. You may have asked yourself, "what exactly is craft beer?". It's a phrase that we hear a lot in the media, but seeing as there's no craft beer brewery, or even craft beer imports to our shores, a lot of us may not know exactly how to differentiate craft beers from other beers. So let's start with a simple definition first. The Brewer's Association in Boulder, Colorado uses this definition:
craft · beer ˈ/craft bēr/ noun: beer made by a brewer that is small, independent, and traditional
Okay, so we have a working definition now. And before I go on, I need to make a qualifying statement that I am not one of those anti-big beer/craft beer snobs. I like a lot of the big beer companies, and two of my friends are the distributors for Budweiser and Coors products. For the purpose of this piece, let me just illustrate the difference between craft beer and the large beer companies. Also, I would be lying if I said I didn't love a lot of those big beer companies' advertisements. Further, there is a ton of great beer being made by companies that kind of fall in between the strict craft beer definition and your huge beer corporations. I hope to talk about a lot of those beers on this blog in the future.
In fact, I feel sorry for those large beer companies sometimes. Well, not really - they're huge multi-million dollar corporations. But it must be tough to produce beers that have to be universally liked enough to gain as wide-spread popularity as they have. I mean, let's face it - people don't all have the same tastes. Therefore, you're going to have to produce a beverage that has a low alcoholic content, without any really bold flavors in order to appeal to the widest possible range of tastes. That's no easy task. Big companies also have to rely on filtration and pasteurization to produce the longest possible shelf life, or use enzymes to speed up fermentation to cut production costs, or use substitute products such as corn or rice in place of barley. The vast majority of craft beers are unfiltered, brewed and fermented with techniques that are hundreds of years old. The old adage applies here: you can't rush a good thing.
So back to craft beers. What is craft beer? Remember those three main components to a craft beer brewer: small scale, independent and traditional. Let's have a look at some of the discerning characteristics of craft beers and the brewers who produce them:
Craft brewers are small brewers.
The hallmark of craft beer and craft brewers is innovation. Craft brewers interpret historic styles with unique twists and develop new styles that have no precedent.
Craft beer is generally made with traditional ingredients like malted barley; interesting and sometimes nontraditional ingredients are often added for distinctiveness.
Craft brewers have distinctive, individualistic approaches to connecting with their customers.
In the US mainland, the majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a craft brewer. In American Samoa there are currently zero craft brewers.
So who is drinking craft beer? Well, not us here in American Samoa, we don't have that option...yet. According to the British Food Journal and the Journal of Consumer Marketing, it's primarily men between the age of 35 and 49. We have a lot of those here, so why is there no craft beer market here? We aim to remedy that problem. Also don't be fooled by the small numbers of women consuming craft beer. According to Craft Brewing Business publication, “Fifty-one percent of men described beer as their favorite [alcohol] category in September 2013 vs. 54 percent last year. Interestingly, beer is making strides among women: 26 percent of women in the survey named beer as their favorite alcoholic beverage in September 2013 vs. only 24 percent last year. Those increased percentages could be due in part to the craft beer industry, as women are more likely than men to say they were drinking more beer due to ‘finding new brands’ (39 percent of women vs. 36 percent men) and ‘finding new flavors’ (38 percent of women vs. 31 percent of men).”
So let's wrap up this first piece and SPOILER ALERT: I'm going to gratuitously plug my business in 5...4...3...[you don't actually say "2" and "1" - you just don't]...
Flying Fox Brewing Company LLC is the very first craft beer producer in American Samoa. I've worked hard to teach myself both the time honored methods of beer brewing, as well as how to use modern technology to produce good, unfiltered beer for the people of American Samoa. When we open our doors, I hope to see you all there - thirsty, hungry and ready to enjoy yourselves. Please, support local businesses, support locally produced goods, and #DRINKLOCALBEER.
Month of May Happy Hour Calendar of Events
National Barbecue Month – May 1 – 31
World Whiskey Day – 3rd Saturday of May
American Beer Week – 4th week in May
May Day – May 1
National Orange Juice Day – May 4
National Candied Orange Peel Day – May 4
Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you) – May 4
Cinco de Mayo – May 5
Beverage Day – May 6
No Diet Day – May 6
National Homebrew Day – May 7
National Cosmopolitan Day – May 7
Mother’s Day – May 8
National Moscato Day – May 9
Twilight Zone Day – May 11
World Cocktail Day – May 13
Friday the 13th – May 13
Leprechaun Day – May 13
National Chocolate Chip Day – May 15
Mimosa Day – May 16
Wear Purple for Peace Day – May 16
American Craft Beer Week – May 16 – 22
Pick Strawberries Day – May 20
National Waiters and Waitresses Day – May 21
National Wine Day – May 25
Sun Screen Day – May 27
Memorial Day – May 30
National Mint Julep Day – May 30
National Macaroon Day – May 31
New Beers This Month
Kona Brewing's Magic SandsStyle: Saison Hops: Millennium, Hallertauer, and CitraAvailability: Draft Only5.5% ABV, 18 IBUsLos Locos Mexican Style LagerStyle: Lager Flavor Additions: Sea salt & Lime4.8% ABV Brewing's Magic Sands
Hops: Millennium, Hallertauer, and Citra
Availability: Draft Only
5.5% ABV, 18 IBUs
Los Locos Mexican Style Lager
Flavor Additions: Sea salt & Lime