Brewer’s Association removes ‘traditional’ from craft beer definition

The US Brewer’s Association has updated its definition of craft beer, removing the outdated requirement that the majority of beers be “traditional”, allowing brewers to innovate in new areas without sacrificing their ‘craft’ status.

Since the launch of the BA’s original craft brewer definition in 2006, the craft brewing industry has more than tripled in size and market share, with 7,000 breweries now operating in the US.

Previously, the organisation’s definition of craft covered those brewers deemed to be “small, independent and traditional”.

Small means that the brewer has an annual production of six million barrels of beer or less.

Independent means that “less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer”.

While the “small” and “independent” definitions remain unchanged, “traditional” has been replaced with “brewer”.

Previously, “traditional” related to “a brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers 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 flavour.”

That term has been replaced with “brewer”, which more simply requires a craft brewer to “1) be in possession of a TTB Brewer’s Notice and 2) make beer”.

“The primary implication of this change is that a brewer is no longer required to have a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beer,” the organisation states. “That means that companies that produce across beverage alcohol categories can be considered craft brewers if they meet the other requirements: produce less than six million barrels (of beer globally) and remain independent.”

It means that brewers can still be considered craft, even if they are producing equal, lesser or greater volumes of other beverages, such as cider, mead, hard seltzers, sake or alcoholic kombucha.

In 2017, approximately 60 small brewers were excluded from the Brewer’s Association’s data on craft beer, due to the requirement that at least 50% of its production was “traditional”. Going forward, these brewers will be included in data on the US craft beer industry.

New definition of a US craft brewer, as defined by the Brewers Association from this month:

Small​: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3% of US annual sales). Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to rules of alternating proprietorships.

Independent​: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.

Brewer​: Has a TTB [Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau] Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Events & Admin Assistant

The Drinks Business
London SE1, UK

Brand Manager - Key Wine Partners

MMI Dubai
Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Business Development Manager

Bashall Spirits
Lancashire, UK

Territory Manager - London​

Cadrona Distillery
London, UK

Business Development Manager

Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Customer Marketing Manager

London NW1, UK

Export Assistant Co-ordinator - Maternity Cover

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Customer Services Administrator - On Trade

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Fruit Focus 2019

East Malling,United Kingdom
17th Jul 2019

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show

San Francisco,USA
23rd Jul 2019

The Wine Show Chelsea 2019

London,United Kingdom
18th Oct 2019
Click to view more

The Global Riesling Masters 2018

View Results

Global Chardonnay Masters 2018

View Results

Click to view more