Being LA Farm Girl, I am used to writing about, and sampling, all kinds of wonderful, locally grown produce. And Los Angeles has seen some amazing urban farms sprouting up all over. But, if you would have told me five years ago that I would be writing about locally brewed aka “craft” beer, I would have told you that you were crazy.
But, here in Los Angeles, and elsewhere around the country, small, craft breweries have become more and more popular and beer tastings are starting to rival wine tastings. The craft beer scene has exploded over the past several years and just in the downtown and east LA areas there are at least ten of them. In the South Bay region of Los Angeles County (where I live), there are nearly that many as well.
Aside from satisfying beer lovers, these small, micro-breweries are good for our local areas for several reasons.
As I have written about other local businesses, these small craft brewers support the local community. They keep their money in the local area, and in many cases create even more local businesses as is the case for those in the downtown LA Arts District. As the District is growing, there’s an increasing need for good food and drink, and they are starting to provide this.
You know exactly what goes into your beer. Just like when you buy your produce right from the farm or at the farmers’ market, when you go to a local brewery, you can meet the brewer in person, ask questions, tell them what you like and what you don’t like. While the beer might not be certified organic, you can ask what goes into your favorite brew or even ask how the brewers make it.
Microbreweries generally don’t transport long distances which means they cut down on the use of fossil fuel and generate less air pollution. Most serve their beer very locally (at least initially), so the only place you can find them is often in the immediate area.
Most recycle in several ways. Not only does this include their glass bottles, plastic and paper, but also by allowing customers to bring in their own containers, or “growlers” (a refillable jug usually 64 ounces and made of glass or ceramic) for refilling. This cuts down on the need for packaging and for purchasing more containers.
It keeps more money in your local community. This helps local economies because these businesses are more likely to buy from local suppliers, hire local service providers, and of course hire employees. Local businesses are reviving downtown areas and providing a community with stores and businesses with history and charm. Last week, I went on a mural tour in the LA Arts District which is home to my favorite brewer, Angel City Brewery. Many of these microbreweries settle into old and often abandoned buildings and warehouses. They are restoring these buildings, often adding or replicating the original details. And they are literally coming full circle, bringing a craft brewery back to the very area where LA’s first brewers were located near the Los Angeles River.
They are promoting tourism while discouraging drinking and driving. Here in LA, you can hop on an LA Beer Hop Tour Bus and visit several breweries in different parts of LA County, and take your own private beer tour of LA. Or, you can take an LA Craft Beer Shuttle in your local area so that you don’t get behind the wheel after sampling the latest brews.
Do you have microbreweries in your community? Do you enjoy visiting them?
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