Brewing Success: Opportunities in Craft Beer and Agriculture
Maria Gonzalez
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
  1. The Rise of Craft Beer
  2. The Impact on Agriculture
  3. Opportunities for Collaboration
  4. Conclusion

Brewing Success: Opportunities in Craft Beer and Agriculture

The craft beer industry has seen a significant surge in popularity over the past decade. This growth has not only created opportunities for brewers but also for the agricultural sector. This article explores the symbiotic relationship between craft beer and agriculture, and the potential opportunities that lie within.

The Rise of Craft Beer

The craft beer industry has experienced a renaissance in recent years. Consumers are increasingly seeking out unique, locally produced beers, leading to a boom in small, independent breweries. According to the Brewers Association, the number of craft breweries in the United States has grown from just over 1,500 in 2007 to more than 8,000 in 2019.

This growth has been driven by a number of factors. Firstly, there has been a shift in consumer preferences towards more flavorful and diverse beer options. Secondly, changes in legislation have made it easier for small breweries to operate and sell their products. Finally, the rise of the 'buy local' movement has encouraged consumers to support local businesses, including breweries.

The Impact on Agriculture

The growth of the craft beer industry has had a significant impact on the agricultural sector. The production of craft beer requires high-quality ingredients, including barley, hops, and yeast. As a result, there has been an increased demand for these crops, providing a boost to farmers.

For example, the demand for hops has skyrocketed due to the popularity of hop-heavy beer styles like India Pale Ales (IPAs). This has led to an expansion of hop farming, particularly in regions like the Pacific Northwest. Similarly, the demand for malted barley has increased, benefiting barley farmers.

Furthermore, the craft beer industry has also created opportunities for diversification within the agricultural sector. Some breweries are experimenting with alternative grains like rye, oats, and wheat, providing new markets for these crops. Others are using locally sourced fruits, spices, and other ingredients to create unique beer flavors.

Opportunities for Collaboration

The symbiotic relationship between craft beer and agriculture presents numerous opportunities for collaboration. Breweries and farmers can work together to develop new and unique beer recipes, using locally sourced ingredients. This not only creates a unique selling point for the beer but also helps to support local agriculture.

For example, breweries can collaborate with local farmers to grow specific varieties of hops or barley, tailored to their brewing needs. This not only ensures a consistent supply of high-quality ingredients but also allows breweries to create unique, locally-inspired beers.

Furthermore, breweries can also work with farmers to recycle their waste products. Spent grain, the leftover malt and adjuncts after the beer has been brewed, can be used as a nutritious feed for livestock. This not only reduces waste but also provides an additional revenue stream for farmers.


The growth of the craft beer industry presents numerous opportunities for both brewers and farmers. By working together, they can create unique, locally-inspired beers, support local agriculture, and contribute to a more sustainable food system. As the craft beer industry continues to grow, it will be exciting to see how these collaborations develop and the innovative beers they produce.