The Brewers Association Board of Directors took the next step in evolving the definition of craft brewers at its fourth quarter meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. The definition review and update process began in the summer of 2018 with a survey to determine what products members are brewing. or may brew in the future, followed by a request for comment on a proposed change.
The updated definition of craft brewer incorporates member feedback and is approved as follows:
Definition of craft brewer
An American craft brewer is a small independent brewer.
Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (about 3% of annual sales in the United States). Beer production is allocated to a brewer under alternate ownership rules.
Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewer is owned or controlled (or an equivalent economic interest) by a member of the beverage alcohol industry who is not themselves a craft brewer.
Brewer: Has a TTB brewer rating and manufactures beer.
As with previous updates to the craft brewer definition, this fourth evolution is more inclusive and adds more breweries to the craft dataset.
The original definition of craft brewer was created in 2006, after the Brewers Association was established. Since 2006, the craft brewing industry has more than tripled in size and market share. As the industry evolves, so should the definition. The definition has now been amended four times (2007, 2010, 2014 and 2018) to keep up with innovation and brewing trends.
The “traditional” pillar has become obsolete because craft brewers, looking for new revenue streams to keep their breweries running at full capacity and meet market conditions, have created new products that do not fit the traditional definition of beer.
The craft beer dataset will continue to include products that meet the commercial understanding of beer – fully malted and adjuvanted beers as well as gluten-free beers. Read this Insights and Analysis article for more details on how this change will impact the craft brewing dataset and see responses to Frequently Asked Questions.
In addition, the Board amended the Articles of Association to add a new class of Taproom Brewery voting members, which will come into effect in 2019. An annual plan was also approved which includes the development of a committee Action Plan (PAC) in 2019. .