MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – More than 200 artists from around the country will be in St. Paul this weekend as the American Craft Council Show returns to the RiverCentre. But there’s something new this year: beer.

The American Craft Council is showing how brewers are making art through their beer.

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“Craft beer” is a term floating everywhere these days, with breweries and tap rooms popping up all over Minnesota.

“A craft beer is, by definition that the Brewers Association’s came up with, to differentiate brewers that are making small and independent beers from the big guys like Miller and Anheuser-Busch. The true definition of a craft brewer is small, independent and traditional,” said Joseph Alton, editor of The Growler Magazine. “Quality over quantity. That’s really what craft beer is.”

There is one sense in which craft beer has come to mean quantity though, lately. Minnesota has gone from 10 to 50 registered breweries in the last five years. Alton says that IPAs had much to do with that boom.

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“This is the style of beer that brought craft beer back to the United States and the huge resurgence it’s had. It is what has set us apart from our European counterparts and folks from other parts of the world,” Alton said. “Craft beer has found its resurgence in Americans’ and Minnesotans’ return to smaller, more local appreciation.”

That’s why you’ll see craft beer making an appearance at this year’s American Craft Council Show, a show typically dedicated to art in the form of paintings, sculpture and furniture.

“Craft beer has the same basis and value structure and contemporary American craft. It’s handmade and made in small batches,” said Chris Amundsen, executive director of the American Craft Council. “A lot is unique and it’s basically an interpretation of someone’s artistry of creating something to drink versus a handmade object like a piece of jewelry, ceramic, glass.”

With hundreds of beer options, the American Craft Council Show is the perfect start for a novice to get started, taste beer and talk with the brewers who concocted their brews, much like an artist.

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“You get the opportunity to meet the artists, talk to them about their work, their processes and how they make things. They are really the ultimate small business,” Amundsen said.