Craft beer! It’s everywhere. You’ve heard about it. But what is craft beer?
For those scoring at home, it’s beer made at a craft brewery.
OK, seriously though. There are three stipulations a brewery must meet in order to be considered a craft brewer (as laid out by the Brewers Association):
If the brewery of the beer you’re enjoying meets those three criteria, well, you’ve got yourself a craft brew, my friend.
Let’s break these down, shall we?
Small: The brewery cannot annually produce more than 6 million barrels of beer. Bye-bye, Anheuser-Busch, Coors, and SABMiller, among others (perhaps surprisingly, Boston Beer Company – the folks behind Samuel Adams – gets under this bar).
Independent: At minimum, 75% of the craft brewery must remain free from being owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not a craft brewer. Basically, anyone who doesn’t fit into the ‘small’ category cannot run/control the brewery. Adios, Shock Top, Third Shift, and Blue Moon as well as a whole slew of beers we can’t list in this space.
Traditional: The brewer must have at least 50 percent of its volume be malt beer. A brewery that fails to meet this requirement receives the label “adjunct brewer.” They use unmalted grains like corn, rice, rye, etc. to supplement the main mash ingredient. Catch ya later, Yuengling and Iron City.Get to know the beers you’re enjoying – not just how they feel in your mouth but also where they’re from. You might be surprised to find out how many big-name companies are disguising new beers as craft brews. OR you might discover a bunch of your long-time favorites don’t actually almost kinda sorta come from a proud and true craft brewery.
Interested in learning more about craft beer while sampling excellent craft brews? Join the Old Line Craft Beer Club! https://www.oldlinewine.com/craft-beer-club