Brewers Association debuts new seal to differentiate craft brewers from ‘big beer’

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

The Brewers Association will provide the independent craft beer seal to both members and non-members of the BA.
The Brewers Association will provide the independent craft beer seal to both members and non-members of the BA.

Related tags Brewers association Brewery

The Brewers Association has launched a new seal to help distinguish US independent, craft beer from mass-produced “big beer” on the store shelf.

A key motivation for creating a designated label for small, independent craft brewers was the rising number of craft brands being acquired by large multinational beer companies causing consumer confusion in an increasingly crowded market, the Brewers Association said.

“Beer lovers are interested in transparency when it comes to brewery ownership,” ​Brewers Association CEO, Bob Pease, said. “This seal is a simple way to provide that clarity.”

Small and independent craft brewers account for 99% of US breweries but make up 12% of beer sales in the country; the rest of US beer sales come from big beer along with imported brands, according to data from the Brewers Association.

Addressing market confusion

A Nielsen study found label claims such as “independent”​ and “independently owned” ​resonate with 81% of craft beer drinkers and drive their purchase intent when shopping for beer.

However, the Brewers Association has found that some consumers are confused when it comes to choosing a beer they know for certain is produced by an independent craft brewer.

“The Brewers Association has heard loud and clear from our members about the confusion that exists in the marketplace and they want a tool to help differentiate,”​ Pease told BeverageDaily.

“The impetus for the seal is to differentiate, not denigrate—to readily distinguish independent craft brewers from big beer.”

Adoption by craft brewers

The seal depicts an upside down bottle symbolizing that craft brewers have “upended”​ the traditional definition of beer, the Brewers Association said.

“We already have a number of independent craft brewers committed to using it,”​ Pease said. “Our aspiration is to have all 5,300+ small and independent craft breweries across the country implement the seal.”

The seal is available for use free of charge by any small and independent American craft brewer that has a valid TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) Brewer’s Notice and meets the Brewers Association’s definition of a craft brewer.

To meet this definition a brewer must produce 6 million barrels of beer or less and have no more than 25% ownership by another party other than the craft brewer.

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