The Brewers Association defines a craft brewer as a small independent brewer.
There are six distinct market segments for the craft beer industry: microbreweries, breweries, brewpubs, regional breweries, contract brewing companies, and alternate owners.
A brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year and sells 75% or more of its beer offsite. Microbreweries sell to the public through one or more of the following methods: the traditional three-tier system (from brewer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer); the two-tier system (brewer acting as wholesaler to retailer to consumer); and directly to the consumer through take-out orders and/or on-site sales at drinking places or restaurants.
See the list of American microbreweries
A brewpub that sells 25% or more of its beer on-site and operates extensive catering services. Beer is brewed primarily for sale in the restaurant and bar, and is often dispensed directly from the brewery’s storage tanks. Where permitted by law, breweries often sell beer on the go and/or distribute it to offsite accounts.
See List of American Brewpubs
A professional brewery that sells 25% or more of its beer on-site and does not operate significant food services. Beer is brewed primarily for sale in the tavern and is often dispensed directly from the brewery’s storage tanks. Where permitted by law, taproom breweries often sell beer on the go and/or distribute it to offsite accounts.
See the list of American Taproom breweries
A brewery with an annual beer production of between 15,000 and 6,000,000 barrels.
See the list of American regional breweries
Contract brewing company
A company that hires another brewery to produce its beer. It can also be a brewery that hires another brewery to produce additional beer. The contract brewing company handles the marketing, sale and distribution of its beer, while generally leaving the brewing and packaging to its producer-brewery (also sometimes referred to as a contract brewery).
A licensed tenant brewery that takes physical possession of a shared brewery during brewing. Unlike contract brewers, alternate owners are the brewer responsible for all obligations of a licensed brewer, including record keeping, payment of taxes, and label or formula approval. .