Puerto Rico is Leading the Way in Adoption of the Independent Craft Brewer Seal

Puerto Rico is Leading the Way in Adoption of the Independent Craft Brewer Seal
  • What will it take for the remaining craft breweries to adopt the seal?

  • Will these efforts and technicalities benefit or hinder the growth in the craft beer segment?

It looks like the Brewers Association (BA) has been able to convince many small and independent craft breweries to adopt the Independent Craft Brewer Seal.

This many to be exact— 3,524.

This effort, of course, emerged as big beer companies, like Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), had been slowly but steadily acquiring more and more craft breweries to expand their portfolio and better capitalize on the small-batch beer consumer trend.

Foodable took interest on the subject last year and decided to compare three previously craft beer brands that were acquired by big beer companies to compare consumer sentiment before and after their buyouts. The result? The two brands that were acquired by a bigger beverage company actually had higher sentiment scores after the acquisition. This could be due to many different factors, including more resources for equipment, quality lab testing, and even marketing.

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Craft Beer Acquisitions: Sellouts or Success Stories?

Craft Beer Acquisitions: Sellouts or Success Stories?

The craft beer sector has shown a steady growth despite many small and independent breweries being acquired by beer giants.

According to the Brewers Association (BA), “in 2016, craft brewers produced 24.6 million barrels, and saw a 6 percent rise in volume on a comparable base and a 10 percent increase in retail dollar value...By adding 1.4 million barrels, craft brewer growth outpaced the 1.2 million barrels lost from the craft segment, based on purchases by large brewing companies. Microbreweries and brewpubs delivered 90 percent of the craft brewer growth.”

In an effort to continue nurturing that growth, the BA decided to create an Independent Craft Brewer Seal with the reasoning that the logo would serve as a tool for craft-beer enthusiasts to distinguish if their favorite beer was made by an independent brewer or not. In order to carry the stamp, a brewery has to meet the “craft brewer definition” determined by BA.

Craft Brewer Defined by Brewers Association

  • Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales)
  • Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
  • A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.

Foodable has been following the growth of craft beer in the U.S. since its inception and has reported on the origins of "Beervana," what the craft beer market expectations and challenges are, and has provided a behind the scenes look into some craft beer companies through its show Beer Artisan.

Most recently, though, the debate on what it truly means to be a craft brewer and consumer sentiments towards independent brewers who have been acquired by non-craft beer businesses have sparked Foodable’s curiosity.

Enter Foodable Labs, our sister data company which has helped us compare the overall sentiment scores for three beer brands (Four Peaks Brewing, Cigar City Brewery, and Lagunitas Brewing) before and after their acquisitions.

Each beer brand was acquired by a company with more resources with goals of amplifying the beer production as well as the reach of the craft beer’s brand.

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Brewers Association Releases Mid-Year Metrics, Brewery Count at All-Time High

Brewers Association Releases Mid-Year Metrics, Brewery Count at All-Time High

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

The craft beer movement is still gaining momentum as new breweries are setting up shop, while established breweries are developing more unique flavors for the beer lovin’ consumer. The Brewers Association, a not-for-profit trade association, has released new data about the craft beer industry.

To fit consumer demand, craft beer production is up by 8% in the first half of 2016. To keep up with the influx in production, the industry currently employs roughly 121,843 full-time and part-time workers. The brew industry is expected to continue to grow in the next few years and has yet to reach its full potential.

“While the craft brewing industry is entering a period of maturation, most markets are not near saturation,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association in a press release. “As craft’s base gets larger, as with any industry, it becomes more difficult for it to grow at the same percentage rate. Yet there is still tremendous dynamism reflected in eight percent growth for craft. Production growth of small and independent craft brewers continues to be one of the main bright spots for domestic beer in the U.S. Even in a more competitive market, for the vast majority of small and independent brewers, opportunities still exist.”

As of the end of June, a record high of 4,656 breweries were brewing in the US. This is 917 breweries more than the same period in 2015. Not to mention, 2,200 breweries are in the process of opening.

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