Big Brand Beer Really Is Watered Down

Finally, those jabs at your Bud Light-favoring friends now have real scientific backing. According to a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, on average craft breweries use four times as much malted barley as their corporate counterparts.

Barley, which is malted before being added to the brewers mixture in order to free up sugars for fermentation down the line, generates much of beer’s pleasing mouth feel. By using less of this admittedly costly but necessary ingredient, corporate breweries are likewise able to maximize profits while the quality of their product suffers.

Consumers have certainly taken notice. Since 1993, craft beer production and consumption has grown at a rate of about 14% annually, reports Tom Philpott of Mother Jones, while corporate operations have slowly lost part of their share of the market. This is a good sign for barley farmers; after losing more than half of their fields due to lack of corporate demand, a craft beer renaissance may be just what they need to stay afloat. [Mother Jones] [Photo: Flickr/Oleskii Lenov]