What the heck is a “craft” beer anyway?

A craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. That is the definition the Brewers Association (the national trade association for the craft brewing industry) created so the organization could provide statistics for the segment.

Delving into that a little deeper, the BA defines “small” as a brewery with annual production of less than 2 million barrels (a barrel equals 31 gallons) and “independent” as any brewery in which less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.  A “traditional” brewer is a brewery who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.

One more definition for you; a “small” brewer (as in California Small Brewers Association) is defined as those who qualify for the Tax and Trade Bureau’s small brewers excise tax differential by producing less than 2 million barrels annually.

So there you have it. Now at the next party, when someone is confused about the term “craft” beer, you have the answer!