Trouble Brewing: The Craft Beer vs. “Crafty” Beer Cat Fight

While mom-and-pop brewers generally earn their reputations as laidback types’€”often starting businesses in their basement, with the help and advice of other brewers’€”they’€™ve taken great umbrage recently over the muddling of the craft beer market.

The Brewers Association has grown tired of Big Beer creeping in on its territory, and is accusing the big guys of intentionally trying to fool the public. The association consists of around 1,500 independent U.S. brewers, and it defines craft beer in specific terms.

To qualify, a true craft beer must be brewed in quantities of no more than six million barrels annually, and no large international beverage company can own more than 25% of the operation. As such many beers that seem like craft products don’€™t pass muster, according the Brewers Association.

But even among the protectors of the ‘€œcraft beer’€ label, there’€™s been a willingness to redefine the term from time to time. In 2010, the Brewers Association upped its limit for qualifying as a craft brewer from two million to six million barrels, so that Yuengling and Samuel Adams would still get to call themselves authentic craft beers without shame.

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