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WHAT IS A CRAFT BREWER?
Small: they produce 6 million barrels of beer or less annually. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition.
Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member thatis not itself a craft brewer.
Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewer's 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.
The hallmark of craft beer and craft brewers is innovation. They interpret historic styles with unique twists and develop new styles that have no precedent. These brews are typically made with traditional ingredients like malted barley and wheat. Sometimes the brewer will use interesting and non-traditional ingredients to make the beer distinct. Craft brewers have distinctive, individualistic approaches to connecting with their customers. They’re small, so they can understand the customer better. They are also able to maintain the integrity of their product due to their independence from any substantial interest by a non-craft brewer.
Craft brewers tend to be very involved in their communities through philanthropy, product donations, volunteerism and sponsorship of events. The number of craft brewers has grown 18% CAGR from 8 in 1980 to 537 in 1994 to 1,759 in 2011. Craft brewers operate in 344 congressional districts and the majority of Americans live within 10 miles of one.
ORIGINS & PHILOSOPHY
The term originated in the UK in the late 1970s to describe the new generation of small breweries which focused on producing traditional cask ale. The first successful example of this approach was Litchborough Brewery founded by Bill Urquhart in 1975. In America, Fritz Maytag purchased Anchor Brewing Company in 1965 maintaining some of the original beer traditions of that brewery during a time when all of America’s unique beers and breweries were disappearing. It took another decade to turn the ailing company around.
Originally, the term "microbrewery" was used to describe the size of breweries. Over time, it gradually came to reflect an alternative attitude and approach to brewing flexibility, adaptability, experimentation and customer service. The term and trend spread to the United States in the 1980s where it eventually was used as a designation of breweries that produced fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer annually.
Micro- or craft-breweries have a different marketing strategy than large, mass-market breweries. They offer beers that compete on the basis of quality and diversity, instead of low price and advertising. Their influence has been much greater than their market share (which amounts to only