Craft brewers are working to make sure shoppers know which beers are made by independent brewers and which brands are actually owned by industry giants.
On Tuesday, the Brewers Association — a group of 5,300 small and independent American craft brewers — announced the launch of an “independent craft” seal to designate which beers are produced by independent craft brewers.
Only beer-centric brands that produce less than 6 million barrels annually and are mostly independent from non-craft alcohol players can use the seal. Big conglomerates can only have an up to 25% stake in a brand for it to be considered independent.
“Beer lovers want to know who is brewing their beer,” Bob Pease, the president and CEO of the Brewers Association, told Business Insider. “The seal will help beer drinkers differentiate independent brewers from Big Beer in the marketplace and help them be a deciding voice in what will be on the shelf, rather than the largest beer companies who have tremendous distribution power.”
Many brewers who have been acquired by beer giants have pushed back on accusations that deals with companies like AB InBev, the maker of brands including Budweiser and Stella Artois, dilute their craft credentials.
“To say our beers are ‘imposter’ craft ignores the intense skill, time and meticulous attention to detail that goes into making any great beer,” Steve Crandall, founder and CEO of Devils Backbone, told Business Insider in May. According to Crandall, a 2016 deal with AB InBev means greater investments in local communities and hiring more employees — not tearing down craft.
While the battle between craft and Big Beer is a hotly contested one, many Americans don’t realize which trendy brands are independent and which have been acquired. Brew Studs, a blog dedicated to craft beer, recently published a list of brands acquired in part or completely by AB InBev, encouraging craft-beer lovers to boycott them.
Here’s the list of 14 beers with roots in craft brewing that would no longer qualify for the Brewers Association seal.
1. Goose Island
AB InBev acquired the maker of beers including Goose IPA and Honkers Ale in 2011.
The Craft Brew Alliance acquired Kona in 2010. Three years later, AB InBev acquired a 32.2% stake in CBA’s business — Brew Studs argues tarnishes the alliance’s “craft” credentials.
Omission, a gluten-removed beer that launched in 2012, is another CBA brand.