Shop Local. It’s a phrase we have been parroting for years to make us feel better while shopping on Amazon or in a big-box store. Points to self. Guilty as charged, officer. But recently there has been a concerted push by state and local governments to think hometown first, from Taste NY and signs on the highways (let’s see how long that lasts), to regional chambers of commerce’s Facebook news feeds promoting local shopping days.
Breweries, home-brew suppliers, and beer distributors are small businesses too, and the holidays are especially important as the extra cash flow may determine if they can expand in the new year. A new fermenter? A part-time delivery driver going to full-time? A bigger facility needing extra workers? It’s a huge boon to a region’s bottom line.
Now that we’re revved up for a little neighborhood shopping, here are a few gift ideas for the beer lover. I’m starting to feel like Oprah.
It’s The Little Things
Bottle openers, gift cards, or glasses are the perfect stocking stuffers to give co-workers, bosses, teachers, or other people in your circle, showing that you care without breaking the bank. They will appreciate that you remembered chatting about that recent tasting room visit or noticed them wearing that brewery shirt on casual Friday.
Warm and Toasty
Everything is better with a brewery logo on it. T-shirts, tank tops, and hoodies—you can’t go wrong with these go-to items. Don’t know what size to get? A trucker hat or knit cap will keep anyone’s noggin warm and dry.
Keep it Simple
If wouldn’t think twice about handing a bottle of wine to a friend or bringing it to an office party, why not beer? Both my boss and my cubicle mate will be getting a gift of beer, why not yours? You can buy a single 22oz. bottle from your favorite beer distributor, add a ribbon or throw it gift bag, and you are done. If you want something a bit grander, many breweries are creating gift baskets for you to grab and go. These gift baskets are perfect for someone who always wanted to try a specific breweries beer, but never got a chance.
Have a boyfriend constantly talking about making his first IPA? Have a wife who wants to take her homebrewing to the next all-grain level? Whether it’s homebrew kits with extracts or kettles and grain for that big brew day, homebrew shops are waiting for you. They have got the equipment or gift certificates to bring a smile to any current or future home brewer.
You Get a Beer! And You Get a Beer! Everyone Gets a Beer!
More breweries are adding growler of the month, mug clubs, or brewery memberships to their line up. With these memberships, you can get discounts off pints, growlers, clothing, access to special bottle releases, and much, much more. So if the person on your list has their own seat at a particular tasting room, this is the ideal treat.