Is Homebrewing Dying?

Homebrewing has been on the decline for years, and it begs the question: is homebrewing dying?

Good morning. Interested in making more sustainable beer? Just add stale bread to your mash.

Toast Brewing in London revived a 4,000 year old recipe from Mesopotamia by making bread beer - beer made with 25% old bread that would have been thrown away. This not only reduces food waste but also reduces the amount of grains necessary to brew beer, lightening the environmental footprint.

While this is great and I love to hear about sustainable brewing, my first thought was that the amount of rice hulls they must add to ensure they don’t have a stuck mash probably offsets any benefit from adding less grain.

-Brandon Copeland

Is Homebrewing Dying?

Over the last decade online searches for homebrewing are down drastically, meanwhile searches for “brewery” are at an all time high. Now it’s estimated that 85% of the American population is within 10 miles of a brewery, with the trend of craft breweries also exploding worldwide.

So the question is: is homebrewing really dying?

Evolution of Homebrewing

3 Tier Keggle Setup (Credit: University Times)

Homebrewing started almost as a counterculture movement - it was a grassroots group of DIYers. They were rebelling against the flavorless national beer brands and wanted to craft something themselves that tasted better. Those homebrewers paved the way for craft beer as we know it - some of the most famous names in craft brewing like Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada started out as homebrewers.

The quality and availability of homebrewing ingredients and equipment has drastically changed since the early days of homebrewing back in the 60’s and 70’s. There wasn’t a market for homebrewing established - specialty hops in non commercial sizing was nonexistent. Equipment was also nonexistent - it required a DIY spirit to cobble together a homebrewing setup with whatever they could find.

While this DIY spirit is still pervasive in homebrewing today, things have changed. Homebrewing equipment has reached a sophistication that can rival commercial setups. All in one brewing systems, pressurized, jacketed fermenters with personal glycol units, homebrew specific kegerators, and online tools (like Brewgr) have all flooded the market to make homebrewing easier than ever.

Are Less People Homebrewing?

If less people are homebrewing, the proliferation of breweries may be to blame. Most local markets are oversaturated with craft breweries, and as a result it’s easier than ever to enjoy thoughtfully brewed craft beer. Now there are plenty of craft breweries that are pushing the limits of brewing, and there is less incentive to get creative with beer at home.

A change in lifestyle could also be a contributing factor. Younger generations are drinking less alcohol in general in an effort to manage their mental and physical health.

What Is The Future Of Homebrewing?

I don’t think homebrewing is going anywhere - the pandemic brought about a renewed interest in homebrewing, with an uptick of sales in homebrewing kits of up to 50% from normal levels. The homebrewing market is expected to grow to 28.8 billion dollars by 2028 in the United States alone.

Homebrewing has evolved from barebones equipment and creativity to stainless steel solutions with features reminiscent of commercial brewing systems, available to everyone. It’s an exciting time for homebrewing; now more than ever you can brew great beer from home consistently. Cheers to innovation and progress!

Is Homebrewing Dying?

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Beer Trivia Question

🍺 What was often used as payment for labor in Ancient Egypt?

Read to the end to find out if you're right!

Homebrewing DIY Project Highlight

PLAATO Keg Sensor

If you have kegs in your homebrewing setup, you may be interested in a keg monitoring system. This system would monitor the weight of the keg, and give you an indication of how much beer you have left in your keg. A solution for this exists called the PLAATO Keg, but it’s overpriced and has mixed reviews.

If you’re looking for a weekend project that will test your technical skills, check out this video. This guy built a keg monitoring system for $20 - I will say it’s not for the faint of heart, but as an automation nerd this is something I definitely want to try out.

Brewgr Recipe of the Week

Hazy IPA’s are undeniably in - they have dominated the IPA market, and for good reason. They are flavorful, bold, and in some cases juicy. However, I often yearn for a “classic” West Coast IPA. This recipe seems like a solid west coast, with some hop staples like Centennial and Cascade.

Credit: MarioMX

Most people have not tried brewing an NA beer, and I get it - with only one tap, I haven’t been willing to brew an NA beer just yet. Those who have brewed an NA beer tried the boil off method without a lot of success. It sounds like these new yeast strains are the way to go if you’re looking to try brewing a non-alcoholic beer.

And the Answer Is...

🍺 Beer! The workers at Giza who built the pyramids received 3 rations of beer a day, with beer widely being used as compensation throughout Egypt.

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Happy Brewing!

- Brandon, Brew Great Beer Team

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