Encyclopedia > Microbrew

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A microbrew (alternatively called a microbrewery) is a relatively new term for a small commercial brewery.

The term and trend originated in the United States in the (1990s?). Prohibition drove many, many breweries into bankruptcy, as they could not rely on selling "sacramental" wine like wineries of that era did. After the consolidation of breweries through the 19th and 20th centuries, most American commercial beer was produced by a few very large corporations, producing a very uniform mild-tasting lager. Consequently, some beer drinkers craving variety turned to homebrewing and eventually a few started doing so on a slightly larger scale.

The popularity of these products was such that the trend quickly spread, and hundreds of these small breweries sprung up, often attached to a bar, known as a "brewpub," where the product could be enjoyed.

Similar breweries are gradually making appearance in other countries, for instance New Zealand and Australia, where a similar market concentration had occurred. Small European breweries, which would in the US be considered microbreweries, have continued to operate as they have for centuries.

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