While the above title might be reminiscent of bad sci-fi movies or sound like something straight out of a quantum physics lab, neither interpretation is right. Nano breweries are the newest trend in the craft brew world, and are going to be a force to contend with in coming years. So, what the heck is a nano brewery and why should it matter to you?
Simply put, nano breweries are very, very small operations – often no more than a guy brewing up beer in his garage for sale. Technically, nano breweries are smaller than microbreweries. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) cites a nano brewery as making 200 gallons of beer per year if there are 2 adults in the household, or 100 gallons if there is only 1 adult in the household. As you can see, they're small – they really do deserve the nano designation.
Why should you care about these tiny little breweries, though? Actually, you'll find that the "nano" term is being bandied about with ever-greater abandon. You'll even find nano brew fests popping up around the nation. For instance, Rogue put on a nano brew fest in August of 2010 in the Portland area. Another, the Nano Beer Fest, was put on by Fanno Creek Brew Pub in Tigard, Oregon.
The Rogue nano beer fest brought out 25 different small brewers, while the Fanno Creek event saw 15 different brewers offering their beverages for consumer enjoyment. What's the real story, though? Perhaps the real issue here is that nano breweries are to today's world what microbreweries were several years ago. While the industry has started using "craft brewing" more than micro brewing, nano breweries hearken back to the roots of the movement in general – a guy brewing beer in his garage.
The results of these tiny operations can be amazingly tasty, and with names like Red Fury Ale and Russian Imperial Stout, there seems to be quite a variety of different brews to sample at events like this. Moreover, these festivals and events are probably going to be the only place that you can get your hands on nano brewery products, as they're not really available for purchase on a large scale. Given the success of just the two events listed above, you can probably look forward to some nano-scale festivals coming to your area in the coming months, so you can get a firsthand sample of brewing innovation.