Brewer's Association changes the definition of craft beer

It doesn’t take Columbo to realize that craft beer is on the rise-new small breweries have popped up across the nation, quality beers are showing up in supermarkets, there are now beer magazines, and Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione even has his own television show: Brewmasters.

Craft beer has actually been gaining in popularity for a few decades and is continuing to grow at a healthy pace. Established independent breweries have consequently grown in size to accommodate the increased demand for high quality brew. The signs of growth are everywhere, including, of course, in trade organizations.

The Brewers Association, an alliance that swears to “promote and protect small and independent American brewers” and their high end suds. They recently redefined what the term “small” is, at least in brewing standards. Now, by definition, independent American breweries can produce 6 million barrels of beer and still be considered “small” and “craft”. Previously these  breweries were limited to 2 million barrels per year.

The Boston Beer Company (aka Sam Adams) is on pace to break the 2 million barrel mark in the next couple of years and the new definition was in part to (rightfully) include them. Sam Adams is a craft beer pioneer, still puts out some fantastically tasty beers, and is an advocate for the industry. To oust and exclude them would not only negatively skew growth numbers but would be a disservice to Sam Adams and independent brewers everywhere.

Overall, this appears to be an excellent example of industry growth. The only downside to trends like this would be if the larger craft breweries sacrificed quality for quantity and profit margins. Hopefully this never happens.

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