As more craft breweries find themselves snatched up by larger brewing operations, liquor companies, and the like, craft beer fans are increasingly finding themselves in a buyer’s dilemma. They would rather purchase from independent breweries, yes, but with so many takeovers and more likely on the way, it is difficult to remember which breweries still remain independent. Today, the Brewers Association announces a new way to help consumers distinguish independent beer from others, with the release of a special seal.
The new seal features an upside down beer bottle with the words “Independent Craft” displayed inside the bottle and the Brewer’s Association name and ‘certified’ outside of the bottle. The design is simple enough, with the minimal words necessary to convey the intended message. The upside down bottle is meant to promote the fact that craft breweries, with their individualistic and self- reliant nature, have turned the business of beer upside down.
Independence matters to craft beer drinkers. A study commissioned by Brewbound.com and conducted by the folks at Nielsen confirmed that “independent” and “independently owned” were important to a large majority- approximately 81 percent- of craft beer drinkers. Brewers Association President and CEO Bob Pease says this new symbol will make it easy for craft beer drinkers to know which breweries are still operating on their own, without undue influence from another brewery, adult beverage producer, etc.
“Independent craft brewers continue to turn the beer industry on its head by putting community over corporation and beer before the bottom line. They continue to better beer and our country by going beyond just making the beverage. These small businesses give back to their backyard communities and support thousands of cities and towns across the U.S.,” said Pease. “As Big Beer acquires former craft brands, beer drinkers have become increasingly confused about which brewers remain independent. Beer lovers are interested in transparency when it comes to brewery ownership. This seal is a simple way to provide that clarity—now they can know what’s been brewed small and certified independent.”
Rob Tod, chair of the Brewers Association and founder of Maine’s Allagash Brewing, concurs, noting that the seal is a verified confirmation of a small brewing business working in support of community.
“Craft brewers build communities and the spirit of independent ownership matters” said Tod. “When beer lovers buy independent craft beer, they are supporting American entrepreneurs and the risk takers who have long strived not just to be innovative and make truly great beer, but to also build culture and community in the process.”
This special seal is available free of charge to any one of America’s more than 5,300 independent craft breweries so long as they have a valid TTB Brewer’s Notice, comply with the BA’s craft brewer definition, and sign a license agreement. Membership in the Brewers Association isn’t necessary for use of the seal- it is available to nonmembers as well.
Several of America’s most beloved small craft breweries have fallen prey to Big Beer in the past several years, making it harder and harder for consumers to know which beer is truly independent and which is not. With this new seal from the Brewers Association, all doubt will be erased from consumer’s minds and they can make buying decisions with greater confidence. We at Great Beer Now applaud this effort and we expect to see the Certified Independent seal show up on beer packaging, craft beer communication documents, and in other places in the coming weeks, possibly becoming an industry standard in due time.
For more information on the Brewers Association seal, breweries are encouraged to visit online at BrewersAssociation.org/seal and consumers at CraftBeer.com/seal. To follow discussions related to this new symbol of independence, use the hashtag #IndependentBeer.