Craft Brew vs. Beer
What is Craft Brew and why do you call it that instead of just beer?
Sure, a Ferrari is "just a car" but it's no regular vehicle. Sure, a diamond is just a "carbon stone" but it's no ordinary rock. When trying to define craft brew, each brew lover has a unique interpretation. To make a true craft brew definition even more difficult, each individual brand is one-of-a-kind. In other words, there could be 20 different definitions of a craft brew!
The Brewers Association provides the following definition which allows the association to provide statistics on the growing craft brewery segment which makes up the majority of all breweries in the U.S.
An American craft brewer is defined as:
- Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Brew production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
- Independent: Less than 25 percent 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.
- Traditional: 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. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers. "Traditional" ingredients are defined as malt, hops, yeast and water.
Some other stats as provided by the Brewers Association:
- In 2017, craft brewers saw a 5% increase in sales, while major "mainstream" breweries saw a 1.2% decrease
- In 2017, craft brewers accounted for $26 billion in sales of the overall beer market, which accounts for 23% of all of the beer sold in the U.S.
- In 2016, 201 craft breweries were listed as operating in Texas, 8th most in the nation
- In 2016, Texas craft breweries had an economic impact of $4.5 million (third most in the U.S.)
- It is estimated that as of 2018, there are more than 20,000 different brands of craft brew to choose from in the United States (more than any other market in the world.)
So, there is a major difference between just a "beer" and something that a small but mighty team has worked tirelessly to craft into something delicious.
These brewers take big pride in their product, and you can often meet them one-on-one (especially at Main Street Fest) to tell them how much you enjoy their product...where as you might never even set foot in the same room as the CEOs controlling the biggest beer brands in America.
And for that reason, we feel we should give due respect to these brewers and what they have crafted for the public to enjoy; thus why we call it "craft brew"...because it's more than just beer!
Enjoy this fun craft brew and food pairing chart and see all the color ranges of brew out there!