I've noticed the number of rye beers released seems to be picking up over the last year or two. Why do you think that is? I was trying to get at whether it had been a cost issue. Perhaps higher margins have allowed brewers to use rye more than they did? Or maybe breweries have learned that customers want rye...or they're just all using it now without any definitive reason. Help!
Rye has a long history in Bavarian brewing. Contrary to homebrewing lore, the impetus behind Reinheitsgebot was to prevent price competition with bakers for wheat and rye. Thanks to the purity law, once common Roggenbier virtually disappeared. The Germans began to revive the style in the late 80's. Wikipedia
I have noticed an increased number of craft brews containing rye. While I can't say for sure I would bet it is primarily a way for brewers to differentiate their beer in a growing craft beer market.
Speaking for myself I use it because it's different, it is spicy & grainy, and compliments the European hops I like to use.