Buy local. Not a new concept but one that is not often practiced or understood. Especially given the American mindset in which we’re entitled to get whatever we want, from wherever we want, whenever we want.

In the July/August 2003 issue of Utne, an article titled “Funny Money” discusses the creation of local currencies to encourage local spending, but what caught our attention was when the author stated:

“Buying local helps keep your money circulating through your hometown: paying your neighbors’ salaries, boosting local government revenues and so on. But when you fork over your cash to a national chain, your money gets whisked away in that night’s deposit.”

So true. Apply this to beer consumption, and you’d most likely see more local beer scenes prosper and the chances of a giant national brand taking a foothold decrease. Buying local beer also promotes interest in the local brewing scene, both with consumers and business owners within the industry – bars, restaurants, package stores and whatnot. And, as a result, your chances of getting more fresh local beer on tap and on the shelves increases. Buy a mega-national brand and you merely strengthen its consumer reach, and support its mega-advertising campaigns and corporate lifestyle, but you take dollars, tap handles, shelf space and, potentially, jobs away from local breweries. And that’s not cool.

Supporting Local Beer

There are many ways to support your local beer scene, and it doesn’t mean that you have to stop buying your favorite imports. All we’re suggesting is that perhaps you think before you drink and try to introduce more local beer into your life.

Here are some ideas:

Visit your local brewpub, pull up a seat at the bar and explore their beers. Visit a local brewery, take the tour and have some samples. Take home a growler of beer, too, because not only will the beer be extremely fresh, but you’ll also be tempted to bring the empty back for a refill.

Swing by your local package store and buy local. Most local beers are also cheaper than domestic or foreign imports, and again, they’ll most likely be fresh. And, the more local beer purchased, the more these places will stock them. Many stores are also open to consumer suggestions.

Local beer bars: Support ’em. They often offer many local beers and help to spread the word and availability. They too are often open to consumer suggestions.

Going out to eat? Visit your local brewpub for some brews and food, or at least order local beer if you’re dining at a restaurant.

Beer dinners: Most smart brewpubs and many restaurants/beer bars host them throughout the year. They’re usually co-hosted by a local brewer and provide a great array of beer-and-food-pairing, and education.

Attend a beer festival. Keep the scene alive! Many festivals are out to support the local beer scene and spread the good word of beer. They can also be educational eye-openers to the magnificent world of beer that’s right under your nose by introducing you to beers that don’t have deep advertising pockets to let you know about them in a flashy kind of way.