Brewers Association’s Papazian and Pease, Schlafly’s Kopman call out ‘faux-crafts’

brewers assoc list of non-craft brands crop

Press Release:

(Boulder, CO) – The Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American craft brewers, issued the following statement regarding the increase in production and promotion of craft-like beers by large, non-craft breweries:

An American craft brewer is defined as small and independent. Their annual production is 6 million barrels of beer or less and no more than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.

The community of small and independent craft brewers has grown as beer enthusiasts embrace new, diverse beers brewed by their neighbors and friends who are invested in their local communities. Beer drinkers are voting with their palates and dollars to support these entrepreneurs and their small and independent businesses.

In 2011, small and independent craft brewers saw their industry grow 13 percent by volume; in the first half of 2012, volume grew by an additional 12 percent. Meanwhile, the overall beer industry was down 1.3 percent by volume and domestic non-craft was down 5 million barrels in 2011.

Witnessing both the tremendous success and growth of craft brewers and the fact that many beer lovers are turning away from mass-produced light lagers, the large brewers have been seeking entry into the craft beer marketplace. Many started producing their own craft-imitating beers, while some purchased (or are attempting to purchase) large or full stakes in small and independent breweries.

While this is certainly a nod to the innovation and ingenuity of today’s small and independent brewers, it’s important to remember that if a large brewer has a controlling share of a smaller producing brewery, the brewer is, by definition, not craft.

However, many non-standard, non-light “crafty” beers found in the marketplace today are not labeled as products of large breweries. So when someone is drinking a Blue Moon Belgian Wheat Beer, they often believe that it’s from a craft brewer, since there is no clear indication that it’s made by SABMiller. The same goes for Shock Top, a brand that is 100 percent owned by Anheuser-Bush InBev, and several others that are owned by a multinational brewing and beverage company.

The large, multinational brewers appear to be deliberately attempting to blur the lines between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today’s small and independent brewers. We call for transparency in brand ownership and for information to be clearly presented in a way that allows beer drinkers to make an informed choice about who brewed the beer they are drinking.

And for those passionate beer lovers out there, we ask that you take the time to familiarize yourself with who is brewing the beer you are drinking. Is it a product of a small and independent brewer? Or is it from a crafty large brewer, seeking to capitalize on the mounting success of small and independent craft brewers?

[Click Image Below to Zoom or Download the PDF for the full-size version.]

brewers assoc list of non-craft brands

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12 thoughts on “Brewers Association’s Papazian and Pease, Schlafly’s Kopman call out ‘faux-crafts’

  1. Pingback: Tenth and Blake chief responds to Brewers Association’s ‘Craft vs. Crafty’ statement | BeerPulse

  2. For a group that proclaims to be all about the “taste” of the beer, the BA sure seems to care about the marketing…

  3. Pingback: August Schell Brewing to BA in response to Craft vs. Crafty: “Shame on you” | BeerPulse

  4. What a load of crap from these arrogant people. I genuinely don’t care who brews the beer if it tastes good. Everything that is wrong with the “craft” beer industry is encapsulated right here.

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  6. Great article and I appreciate all the hard work that you put into producing this list. I hate that other’s comments are so negative. Multinational corporations are not the backbone of America, they are the disfunction of our society. Keep proclaiming the truth and bringing light to these posers!

    Also, the link to the PDF doesn’t download the proper document. You may want to check that link.
    Thanks!!!

  7. Dear Dave,
    While I agree that you that judgement of a beer’s quality should be solely based on taste/smell/appearance and that the arbitrary definition of what is “Craft” is a load of horse %$#@, there is something to be said for knowing who brewed the beer. You also need to judge a company’s business practices when deciding whether to support them by purchasing their product. For example, we know that AB, InBev, SABMiller and the like engage in predatory litigation, beverage distribution legislation rigging via lobbying and other practices which are overall bad for competition and the consumer. So, I personally try to think twice before I purchase something from one of those companies, not because I don’t think they have the ability to make decent beer, but because of what they stand for.

  8. We are beginning to split hairs here. I prefer to deferentiate the beer from the Brewery from the Corporate entity. I evaluate beer by it’s appearance, etc. point rating.
    I evaluate the Brewery by understanding it’s history, it’s brewers, quality of portfolio, an integrity of ingredients. Finally I look at the ownership and consider their positions on brand marketing, distribution, brewing, mission to support local community initiatives. For example InBev Budweiser acquired Goose Island I still believe the brewery and it’s portfolio is still remarkable. The Blue Moon is a different scenario whose growth is mostly a by product of strong marketing and distribution. The taste of the beer is for the consumer to decide.
    I do not like a “definition” as there are too many beers that are well crafted that are definition busters.
    Having said that I would prefer to purchasebeer from a founder/owner brewery with strong local roots and of course great beers. Cheers to all

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  10. Pingback: Brewers Association’s logo on labels not to be interpreted as a ‘craft’ identifier | BeerPulse

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