The BA has revised its craft brewer criteria again
Defining craft today is extremely hard given that division between breweries is not so cut and dry. In 1998, it was a lot easier to determine that a brewery with a brewer-owner brewing in 10-barrel batches was a craft brewer. At 30,000 barrels then a different sort of brewery emerges – and they’re in a different league. At 100,000 barrels, a company is playing a totally different sport. That 2 million barrel breweries were included as “craft brewers” seemed to understand craft brewing in a way most of wouldn’t consider authentic, but in 2011, the criteria was expanded to 6 million barrels – which is enough kegs lined end to end to cross the US back and forth two and a half times. That’s definitely contrary to the spirit of any honest criteria of craft brewing that we’ve had.
When pressed for a definition, I usually suggest that craft brewing isn’t binary – a company is or is not – but more a matter of degree. And to be most accurate, those brewers who ascended into RateBeer upper echelons are the most craft regardless of their size, ownership and ingredients. They’ve won RateBeer awards because of their skill in art and artisanship – they are master craftspersons. Craft brewers par excellence.