The term craft beer gets thrown around all the time. So, when you are sitting at a bar and drinking something from the tap, how do you know whether or not what you are drinking is "craft" beer or not? Well, this is one of those questions that most will say is more difficult to answer than it seems. The folks over at the Brewers Association, a non-profit organization which aims to promote and protect American craft brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts, defines an American craft brewer as the following:
An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional.
Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.
*The Brewers Association also relates the following concepts and ideas to craft beer and craft brewers: For more information, check out this link from CraftBeer.com.
Craft brewers are small brewers.
The hallmark of craft beer and craft brewers is innovation. Craft brewers interpret historic styles with unique twists and develop new styles that have no precedent.
Craft beer is generally made with traditional ingredients like malted barley; interesting and sometimes non-traditional ingredients are often added for distinctiveness.
Craft brewers tend to be very involved in their communities through philanthropy, product donations, volunteerism and sponsorship of events.
Craft brewers have distinctive, individualistic approaches to connecting with their customers.
Craft brewers maintain integrity by what they brew and their general independence, free from a substantial interest by a non-craft brewer.
The majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a craft brewer.
The interactive poster below features all kinds of great information.