Craft Beer 101

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,095
    Julia Herz, Publisher from, provides an overview of craft beer.

    Julia Herz: Hi! I am Julia Herz, Publisher of, a website by the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado. Today, I'd like to share information on what a craft brewer is. The Brewers Association defines a craft brewer so we can provide statistics on the ever growing number of small breweries in the United States.

    An American craft brewer is small, that means they have annual production of less than 6 million barrels of beer a year. They are also independently owned where less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcohol beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.

    They're also traditional, a brewery who has either an all malt flagship or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor is traditional.

    And today more than 2000 breweries are responsible for the beer brands made within the US with an estimated 97% of these fitting the small and independent craft brewer definition.

    These are the three distinct groups that make up craft brewers. We have brew pubs which are about half of today's overall US breweries, we have microbreweries that make up about 40% and then less than a hundred breweries are defined as regional craft brewers. Plus some craft brewed beer is made under contract.

    It is important to point out that craft brewers face many challenges including access to market. Do you ever find yourself asking why you cannot get your favorite beer at your local restaurants and taverns? They have capacity challenges. Generally right now, there's more demand than supply. There is also cost challenges to secure equipment and ingredients and they operate in the most highly regulated and highly taxed of industries.

    And by the way when a beer lover supports their local brewery, in turn the community and culture of craft brewing grows, which allows our craft brewers to thrive and provide jobs and support back to their local communities.

    So there you have it, that's what a craft brewer is; small, independent and traditional.