The Brewers Association announced in a letter to their membership that the BA board of directors has completed a “review and update” process of the association’s definition of “craft brewer.” The process to review the definition began in summer 2018 with a survey to determine what products members are brewing or may brew in the future, followed by a request for input on a proposed change.
The board finalized the process by leaving the “small” and “independent” requirements unchanged, but removed the “traditional” section which required a craft brewer to have a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beer. The new definition is more inclusive by allowing companies that make non-beer products as a majority of their production. This would apply to brewers who now or in the future produce wine, kombucha, and other “non-beer” products.
THE NEW BA DEFINITION OF “CRAFT BREWER”
An American craft brewer is a small and independent brewer.
Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member which is not itself a craft brewer.
Brewer: Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.
The definition has now been amended four times previously (2007, 2010, 2014, and 2018) by the BA.
“The ‘traditional’ pillar became outdated because craft brewers, seeking new sources of revenue to keep their breweries at capacity and address market conditions, have created new products that do not fit the traditional definition of beer,” the BA stated in the email notice. “The craft beer data set will continue to include products that meet the trade understanding of beer—all-malt and adjunct beers, as well as gluten-free beers. Please see our website for more details on how this change impacts the craft brewing data set and for answers to frequently asked questions.”