It’s American Craft Beer Week, celebrating the more than 6,600 U.S. independent craft brewers*. If you needed an excuse to explore new beers, the second full week in May is it!
When you’re shopping for craft beer, book for the Independent Craft Brewer Seal (on all photos).
The seal indicates that the beer was brewed by an independent U.S. craft brewery.
It tells you that you’re supporting a small business, which in turn supports your community† by providing jobs, sales that keep more money circulating in the local economy, the resulting tax revenue, and more.
Buy local and drink great beer.
The Independent Craft Brewer Seal was launched in 2017. The design is a classic beer bottle shape flipped upside down.
The seal indicates that a brewery is certified to be independently owned. It now appears on the bottles of more than 80% of the volume of craft brewed beer.
What About Your Regular Brand?
You may be accustomed to drinking beer brands owned by large multinational corporations, but give the little guys a chance.
Craft beers are more complex, and more interesting.
Craft beers have a richer and more distinctive taste than mass-produced beer.
Craft brewers tend to be very passionate about their beer. They invest time and energy to maintain and improve the quality of their beers.
Large national and international beers, on the other hand, focus on generating more and more sales, via huge marketing campaigns, distributor and retailer deals.
Not All “Craft Beer” Is Craft Beer!
An article on the 15 most popular craft beer brands in the U.S. lists many that are not small brewers.
That’s not surprising, since the owners of these brands have the money to ratchet up sales.
“Drink outside your comfort zone,” says the Brewers Association, the trade association for brewers.
“Flip your “brew-tine,” they suggest (that’s a play on “flip your routine”—we had to read it twice).
Celebrate the creativity of small and independent breweries. Try new brands and different beer styles.
And if you’re already a craft beer fan, there are plenty of other brands waiting for you to try.
How About This Weekend?
This weekend, maybe get together with a group of friends for a potluck craft beer celebration.
Or, visit a brewery. Use this Brewery Finder to locate a brewpub or taproom near you. Most Americans live within 10 miles of a craft brewery.
Stay for a pint or grab and go some of the specialties.
Check the Brewers Association website, CraftBeer.com, for great articles, written by beer lovers for beer lovers. Learn more and discover new beers and brands on CraftBrew.com
There are also plenty of recipes for cooking with beer.
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*The Brewers Association, a trade organization of beer brewers, defines “craft brewer” as a small, independent, traditional brewer. Specifically, annual production is 6 million barrels of beer or less. Also, the brewer must be less than 25% owned or controlled by an alcohol industry member that is not itself defined as a craft brewer. By contrast, Bud Light, America’s best-selling beer, shipped 27.2 million barrels in 2019.
†Even if you buy craft beer brewed in another locale, you’re still supporting a community business, as opposed to a multinational corporation with no roots.