In recent years, the craft beer trend has somehow elevated beer drinking into a cool and artsy lifestyle. Microbreweries started cropping up and introduced unique beer varieties with quirky names and Instagrammable labels. Suddenly, ‘beer tasting’ is a thing and if you tell people that you’re a craft beer enthusiast, that is considered a perfectly acceptable social hobby.
If you are someone who is more familiar with the commercial beer variety, you might be wondering how craft beer is different from your regular draft. Craft beer is defined as beer produced using traditional brewing methods in an independently-owned brewery in small quantities. Because craft beer is supposedly not produced in large quantities, the public perception is that it tastes better because there is more focus on flavor and quality during brewing as compared to commercial beers.
The craft beer perception
Drinking craft beer is often compared to drinking wine because drinkers are allegedly more focused on the flavors rather than the quantity or the act of drinking. This is the reason why alcoholism is a sensitive topic when it comes to the craft beer community. For them, they cannot be compared to binge-drinking frat boys whose only goal is to get wasted.
Surely, drinking a couple of hippy looking bottles of craft beer looks better than gulping down an entire six-pack by yourself. Nobody would even raise an eyebrow with the former, but with the latter, you’d probably be branded as an alcoholic sloth. What many people are not aware of, however, is that most craft beers actually have higher alcohol by volume (ABV) than the supermarket variety.
Commercial beers have an ABV of 4-5%, and while craft beers have an average 5.9% ABV, the more popular ones usually have 8-10%. Some craft beers even have an ABV of up to 20%. While some craft beer fans may argue that the high ABV just means they can drink fewer bottles, this is not really a given.
There are still many people who drink craft beers as they would typically drink commercial beers without being aware that they are drinking more alcohol than their threshold. This is because most people measure their limit by the beer bottle, not really by the ABV. It wouldn’t be surprising if many craft beer drinkers, especially teens and young adults, don’t even have a clue what ABV is. This ABV ignorance could even lead to alcohol poisoning.
Are you addicted to craft beer?
“I just had one bottle…” Sounds familiar? It is often much easier to disguise alcoholism when drinking craft beer because you can justify that you’re drinking fewer bottles or maybe you’re just tasting for fun. However, it does not change the fact that you are ingesting alcohol and building your tolerance. When you build tolerance, your body gets used to the amount of alcohol so you don’t normally feel the side effects. This tolerance is what will cause you to drink more, thinking that you’re invincible. However, whether you like it or not, the negative effect of alcohol will take its toll on your body.
So what is the borderline between craft beer enthusiasm and alcoholism? Here is the hard truth: Just because your beer tastes better than what the regular Joe is drinking does not mean you’re immune to alcohol abuse. You can act sober all you like but it wouldn’t make a difference because your body will absorb the consequences.
The funky flavors and the health claims do not matter because overindulgence in alcohol is bad for you – whatever it tastes like. While it may be true that the better flavor could help you become more mindful of your drinking so you’ll not mindlessly binge drink, you’d have to be really honest with yourself if the delicious taste is making you drink less or is it actually making you drink more?
Recognizing the signs
Alcohol addiction is a difficult condition and the stigma attached to being an alcoholic can be very challenging to deal with. This is why many people are in denial regarding their alcohol problem. If you are not sure whether you’re craft beer enthusiasm is already an addiction, you can evaluate your drinking habits by asking the following questions below. Answering YES to these questions means you do have a problem you need to address.
Is your drinking affecting your physical and mental health? If you are losing or gaining weight, experiencing sleep problems, depression, breathing problems, and other bodily pains, these could be signs of alcohol abuse.
Is your drinking affecting your job and day-to-day activities? Are you prioritizing drinking over the essential daily activities you normally do and do you find yourself always being late or absent for work because of being drunk?
Is your drinking affecting your personal relationships? Are your loved ones constantly worrying about you and telling you that you should stop? Is your drinking affecting the way you deal with your friends and family?
Can you go a day without drinking? Feeling restless when you haven’t had your drink can be a sign that you are already dependent on alcohol.
If you feel that you are struggling with alcohol addiction, there are specialized treatment programs that can help you on your path to sobriety.
Contact Anaheim Lighthouse, help is available today.