With the brewing scene constantly evolving, it can be difficult to define exactly what craft beer is. Simply put, craft beer is beer brewed by a craft brewery. To be considered a craft brewery, a brewery must meet three requirements: they must produce 6 million barrels of beer of less each year, be independently owned with a maximum of 25% of the brewery being owned and/or controlled by a non-craft brewer, and they must have a brewer who has a TTB Brewer’s Notice.
So how can you identify craft beer?
In 2017 The Brewers Association created a seal to identify beer that was brewed by an independent craft brewer.
If you see this seal, you know you are drinking craft beer brewed by a craft brewery.
Why choose craft beer?
Brewing and selling craft beer is challenging; not only can overhead costs, such as equipment and ingredients, be expensive, but craft beer is an industry with lots of strict regulations and high taxes that is difficult to break into. Most craft brewers don’t make craft beer to get rich. They do it because they love it. This passion leads to innovation; while some craft beers are excellent versions of traditional styles, many craft brewers like to push the brewing envelope in terms of ingredients, flavors, and treatments, putting fresh twists on traditional styles and even creating entirely new styles of beer. So, if you really think about it, you’re doing your taste buds a disservice by not drinking craft beer!
Craft beer benefits more than just your palate, it also helps the local economy. When I say local, I mean as-close-as-your-neighborhood local. In fact, more than 80% of adults live within 10 miles of a craft brewery..
When you drink craft beer you aren’t helping a millionaire afford a second (or third) vacation home, you’re helping a small business succeed. Craft breweries like to spread the love, so helping one small business also helps another. For example, when they use honey as an ingredient in their brew, many craft breweries choose to partner with local beekeepers and honey farms to source honey instead of purchasing from a national corporation.