If you’re new to the brewery scene, you might think that all breweries do is make beer, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, in response to the question “do breweries only have beer?” many people will take you back thousands of years to the original brewery.
The Original Purpose of Breweries
The original purpose of breweries was not beer at all but board. As roads were created and traveled in the days of early human civilization, travelers needed a place to stay along the way. After all, the road from one end of Judea to the other was a long one. It would be still farther as people traveled across developed kingdoms like France, Germany, and Spain.
Pubs offered weary travelers a room, a warm meal, and of course, beer.
Beer, at that time, was the beverage offered because local running water sources were not safe to drink from, and grain was easier to grow than grapes.
Thus, pub owners could either harvest their own grain or buy it from a local farmer, sprout the grain, boil it, and ferment it, effectively cleaning the water and providing travelers with a delicious frothy beverage and an opportunity to relax on the road.
As you see, breweries began not as breweries but as places for the travelers to rest their heads.
How Breweries Evolved
Then, as the Industrial Age rose in the early 1800s, commercialization also rose. Corporations formed and began to figure out that they could capitalize on mass productions of material goods, including food and beverages.
Companies formed with the express purpose of making beer, and the first commercial breweries formed to mass produce beer.
At that point in time, the term “brewery” took on new meaning.
You would see breweries with tall grain silos pushing out hundreds of gallons of beer every year and shipping it across states, countries, and entire oceans.
It was the commercialization of beer that led to new beers like IPAs, which needed to be more hoppy to preserve the beer for longer and last the trip across the ocean.
That concept of breweries stuck for generations, though the good old brew pubs hung in strong, and especially across Europe, you can still find a few scattered pubs that have roots back hundreds of years.
Innovations in the Beer Market
Today, breweries are innovating once again, hybridizing the concepts of room and board from hundreds of years ago and mass production of beer.
You can find breweries that offer beer, of course, but also food, ciders, kombuchas, meads, and more. Some small craft breweries also sell their local yeast, bread, and other fermented foods.
Some breweries have expanded their operations to include the distillation of spirits, such as vodka, gin or whiskey, other breweries produce non-alcoholic options, such as sparkling hop water, some have entered collaborations, such as with wineries, to produce hybrid beverages, and many breweries have entered the market for hard seltzers.
You may also see breweries with self-serve taps and experimental foods and drinks for guests to sample.
Brewing is a truly innovative market, when you think about it.
The fact that someone capitalized on fermented grain water and built that concept into a traveler’s inn with a hearty meal tells you that brewery owners are by nature entrepreneurial and have their fingers on the pulse of current needs.
Having that kind of awareness has led to all kinds of remarkable inventions and discoveries, flavors and experiences.
And honestly, we’re here for it all.
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