I have always believed that when it comes to Buying American, it's not a question of whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, but it's a question of who owns the glass. And when it comes to buying American beer, it's a question of whether the brand of beer you're enjoying is brewed in America by a truly American-owned company.
Anheuser-Busch, whose brands include Budweiser, Michelob, Busch, Stella Artois, Corona, and Beck's, is now fully-owned by the Brazilian-Belgium conglomerate AB InBev. Miller Brewing Company is ultimately owned by London-based SABMiller plc (the "SAB" stands for South African Breweries). Formerly American-owned Coors is now part of Canadian-owned Molson Coors Brewing Company, and recently formed a joint venture with SABMiiler plc to better compete with mega-brewer AB InBev. With a market so dominated by just a few incredibly-large foreign-owned companies, what's a red-blooded American beer lover to do?
The good news is that you don't have to make America poorer when you party, and you don't have to fatten-up the financial bottom lines of foreign companies when you enjoy a night out with family or friends.
According to the Brewers Association, there are over 2,700 craft breweries in the U.S., many of which serve authentic American-brewed, American-owned beer. There are even 1,700+ new "breweries in planning." But you don't want to resort to an Internet search engine to find one, according to self-professed "consumer patriot" and craft beer aficionado Robin Fuchs, who created what is a very-impressive Craft Beer Directory at www.craftbeerdirectory.com.
As Mr. Fuchs found out long ago, search engines often bring up liquor stores, bars, restaurants, or even convenience stores that carry only one or two craft beers. Many times he arrive to find a craft brewery is no longer in business or not open to the public because of these poor search engine results
Now there is one website - www.craftbeerdirectory.com - that has the most comprehensive list of American-owned, independent craft breweries and brewpubs listing all the necessary and crucial information for each one conveniently on one page. Craft Beer Directory combines all the most powerful features of a brewery's website, Facebook page, beer menus, and generic marketing services like Foursquare, Yelp, and TripAdvisor (all which have nothing to do with craft beer).
And with the free iPhone/iPad app (the Android version is still in development) you can get turn-by-turn directions to the brewery's front door! You can download the app here.
Since Mr. Robin Fuchs is a true consumer patriot, he does not include foreign-owned breweries that run counter to what true American independence really means. He knows that if we continue to have our wants and needs supplied by foreign-owned companies, we are no longer an independent nation. And American craft breweries that end up in foreign acquisitions are promptly removed from the Craft Beer Directory website.
For example, Blue Point Brewing of Patchogue, NY, which is the oldest and largest craft brewery on Long Island, was sold to AB InBev in February of this year.
It's natural that big beer companies want to tap into the craft beer craze, especially since they realize that in the first half of 2012 alone, sales of craft beer rose twelve percent. And, craft beer made up six percent of the American beer market when measured by volume and nine percent when measured in dollar terms the year before that.
Craft breweries love the Craft Beer Directory because they get a dedicated listing on a website that is custom-tailored for their intended market - the American beer drinker that wants his or her beer to be as American and independent as he or she is! Potential craft brewery customers can find a brewery near their home or destination with Search By States, Look Up Maps, GPS-enabled Breweries Near Me, or Brewery Name or City searches.
There are two types of listings on the Craft Beer Directory website: a Basic Listing and a Full Listing. You can view a sample of a Basic Listing here and a sample of a Full Listing here. You'll notice there is quite a difference, and any craft brewery would much rather have a full listing compared to simply a basic one. That's why whenever I happen to visit a craft brewery, I ask them if they are aware of the Craft Beer Directory. If they aren't, I tell them about the website.
Ideally, Robin's goal is to keep this project going for the long term, so if you find yourself in one of the thousands of Craft Breweries across this great country, encourage that establishment to be a part of the Craft Beer Directory. Or, you can encourage them to contact Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Craft Beer Directory is funded through Full Listings on the website, so now you know exactly how to keep this important and patriotic information available for the mutual benefit of the brewery owners and their potential customers!
In Robin's mission to promote and support American-owned, independent craft breweries and brewpubs, he also started Beer Tours USA (www.BeerToursUSA.com). He arranges "prepackaged" nationwide group tours to American craft breweries and brewpubs, and he donates all the profits of Beer Tours USA to charity, receiving no compensation. You can check out www.BeerToursUSA.com to see if there is an upcoming tour that may interest you, or let him custom-design a tour for your group or organization!
So now you know how to support authentically American and independent breweries! Check out the Craft Beer Directory and www.BeerToursUSA.com before you put yourself in the position of being stuck with the choice of supporting only foreign-owned beer companies!