Craft Brewer Definition

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Derek
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Craft Brewer Definition

Postby Derek » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:40 pm

The Brewers Association just announced that they've changed their definition...

the term "small" now refers to any independent brewery that produces up to 6 million barrels of traditional beer.


http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages ... er-defined

Apparently the Boston Beer Company surpassed the old 2 million barrel threshold. The size of some the American craft breweries is astounding. I guess Sierra Nevada still has some room to grow!
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Postby markaberrant » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:56 am

Thanks for posting this! I was just about to look this up as research for a new beer article I will be writing for a local e-zine.
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Re: Craft Brewer Definition

Postby saints_gambit » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:35 am

Derek wrote: I guess Sierra Nevada still has some room to grow!


Only if we're all very lucky.
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Postby Derek » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:01 pm

Ironically, some macro's could now be considered small. But of course they don't fit the rest of their definition.

But it does raise some questions:

Can craft beer be mass-produced?
Does it really come down to ingredients?
What about the process? Batch size? High-gravity brewing?
Does ownership REALLY mean anything? (when small brewers are bought out, are they no longer considered craft even if they continue the way they always have)?

Does the Boston Beer Co really need a tax break?

As craft grows & becomes more mainstream, do our philosophies need to change?
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Postby matt7215 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:24 pm

Derek wrote:Ironically, some macro's could now be considered small. But of course they don't fit the rest of their definition.

But it does raise some questions:

Can craft beer be mass-produced?
Does it really come down to ingredients?
What about the process? Batch size? High-gravity brewing?
Does ownership REALLY mean anything? (when small brewers are bought out, are they no longer considered craft even if they continue the way they always have)?

Does Sam Adams really need a tax break?

As craft grows & becomes more mainstream, do our philosophies need to change?



Can craft beer be mass-produced?

I think so, look at Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, DFH, Bells, even Creemore. They are all mass producing craft beer. What about Fullers?

Does it really come down to ingredients?

Ingredients and process

What about the process?

See above

Batch size?

I dont think it matters.

High-gravity brewing?

I dont think this is or will be happening for craft products but if it does and the end result is tasty beer Im not nessessarily against it.

Does ownership REALLY mean anything? (when small brewers are bought out, are they no longer considered craft even if they continue the way they always have)?

shouldnt matter

Does Sam Adams really need a tax break?

im not sure

As craft grows & becomes more mainstream, do our philosophies need to change?

I think the way the public views craft beer will change and the big brewers will try to exploit it.

I also think that everyone needs to be reminded that small (or micro)does not equal craft and big does not equal macro swill.
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Postby Kel Varnsen » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:56 pm

matt7215 wrote:
Derek wrote:Ironically, some macro's could now be considered small. But of course they don't fit the rest of their definition.

But it does raise some questions:

Can craft beer be mass-produced?
Does it really come down to ingredients?
What about the process? Batch size? High-gravity brewing?
Does ownership REALLY mean anything? (when small brewers are bought out, are they no longer considered craft even if they continue the way they always have)?

Does Sam Adams really need a tax break?

As craft grows & becomes more mainstream, do our philosophies need to change?



Can craft beer be mass-produced?

I think so, look at Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, DFH, Bells, even Creemore. They are all mass producing craft beer. What about Fullers?

Does it really come down to ingredients?

Ingredients and process

What about the process?

See above

Batch size?

I dont think it matters.

Does ownership REALLY mean anything? (when small brewers are bought out, are they no longer considered craft even if they continue the way they always have)?

shouldnt matter



I agres with these points. I really don't care how big or small your brewery is or how small it is or who ownes it or if you consider yourself a craft brewer or not. Too me it all comes down to if something tastes good or not. If you worry too much about labels like whether or not a product is made by a craft brewer or not, you basically become the same as one of those stupid hipsters who only likes a band if they are small and independant and no one has heard of them, and if that band starts to get popular then you automatically hate them.

And speaking of Fuller's I think I figured out one time that they make more beer per year then all of the OCB brewers combined, yet I would rather drink a London Pride or an ESB then a lot of the OCB beers I have tried.
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Postby Belgian » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:58 pm

matt7215 wrote:I also think that everyone needs to be reminded that small (or micro)does not equal craft and big does not equal macro swill.


Crap is not craft. It has NO 'craft' by the definition of "(made) by hand and with much skill."

Now arguably some small brewers lack much skill. Ones like Schneider & Sohn have considerable skill on a much bigger scale. Does the scale determine whether Hopfen Weisse is an actual craft beer? I'm guessing there is more 'craft' in some of their beers than others. And some are brewed in much smaller quantity which supports the 'hand made' craft ethic.
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Postby Tapsucker » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:36 pm

I think ownership is more of an emotional or brand loyalty thing. In reality, as long as they are not interfering with the quality, what's the difference if a craft brewer is in hoc to a big multinational bank or a bug multinational brewer?

On one hand I hope excellent beers don't disappear due to acquisition, on the other, I think many craft brewers deserve to retire rich(er) for their efforts!
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Postby matt7215 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:39 pm

Belgian wrote:
matt7215 wrote:I also think that everyone needs to be reminded that small (or micro)does not equal craft and big does not equal macro swill.


Crap is not craft.


it makes you question the qualification process for OCB certification
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Postby Derek » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:03 pm

Hmmm... I thought there might be more of a negative backlash to that news.

With the automated systems in use today, really for any scale of commercial brewing, there isn't much done 'by hand'. But yeah, some of the German breweries are also huge, and still produce great products.

Now just for perspective, 6M US Barrels is about 7M hectoliters. In 2005, all of Ontario's sales (including the big macro's) was 7.9 M hectoliters (and all of BC was only 2.6 M). So we're talking really big numbers!

http://www.brewers.ca/UserFiles/Documen ... 7%2006.pdf

At such a large scale, is there really any point to capping the size?
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Postby Rob Creighton » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:05 pm

matt7215 wrote:High-gravity brewing? I dont think this is or will be happening for craft products but if it does and the end result is tasty beer Im not nessessarily against it.

I also think that everyone needs to be reminded that small (or micro) does not equal craft and big does not equal macro swill.


The second comment is without question true but the first is happening in the craft industry as we speak yet it is a critical reason the craft industry exists. Water is the ingredient in beer that has determined every style of beer in history. The point it is added to beer has varied as we use our minds to develop new technologies and create better beer.

As time marched on and "marketing disease" started spreading, the function of the brewer was tasked to making beer faster and cheaper in the late '60's. The seventies saw a massive screwup from Schlitz that wiped them out as a brewing power and by 1982 high gravity brewing was fully instituted across the industry. This is all chronicled in an article by Dr. Graham Stewart in the MBAA Technical Quarterly.

His point that the same amount of water is involved but it varies where it is added is valid but this change of process from batch to dilution in order to get cheaper beer out of the same equipment brought us light bodied beers courtesy of the marketing knob (less filling!, tastes marginal...at best). It is the benchmark that forced us to react and it continues to this day. It is guilt by association and the the definition of anti-craft...no what the intelligent brewing mind says.

You dilute 8-10% beer with carbonated, deaerated water, dilute wort out of the kettle or any variation in order to make more, cheaper and you are part of the problem.
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Postby matt7215 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:54 am

Rob Creighton wrote:
matt7215 wrote:High-gravity brewing? I dont think this is or will be happening for craft products but if it does and the end result is tasty beer Im not nessessarily against it.

I also think that everyone needs to be reminded that small (or micro) does not equal craft and big does not equal macro swill.


The second comment is without question true but the first is happening in the craft industry as we speak yet it is a critical reason the craft industry exists. Water is the ingredient in beer that has determined every style of beer in history. The point it is added to beer has varied as we use our minds to develop new technologies and create better beer.

As time marched on and "marketing disease" started spreading, the function of the brewer was tasked to making beer faster and cheaper in the late '60's. The seventies saw a massive screwup from Schlitz that wiped them out as a brewing power and by 1982 high gravity brewing was fully instituted across the industry. This is all chronicled in an article by Dr. Graham Stewart in the MBAA Technical Quarterly.

His point that the same amount of water is involved but it varies where it is added is valid but this change of process from batch to dilution in order to get cheaper beer out of the same equipment brought us light bodied beers courtesy of the marketing knob (less filling!, tastes marginal...at best). It is the benchmark that forced us to react and it continues to this day. It is guilt by association and the the definition of anti-craft...no what the intelligent brewing mind says.

You dilute 8-10% beer with carbonated, deaerated water, dilute wort out of the kettle or any variation in order to make more, cheaper and you are part of the problem.


well said Rob, to be honest I really hadnt thought about high gravity brewing all that much because I dont really see how it can create craft beer.

another new-ish macro technique brewing with unmalted barley and lab produced enzymes. a clever new macro trick.

more here:

http://www.ratebeer.com/forums/enzymes- ... 157715.htm
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Postby Rob Creighton » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:23 am

A number of craft breweries are playing with variations of high gravity. There is a discussion on Probrewer.com under "double density brewing" that reveals how far along this is and the inability (arrogance?) of the brewers to give up a tool at their command.

Liam McKenna of Yellowbelly reveals a list that is completely legimate in terms of concern:

1/ Non-mash sources of enzymes - not limited to the following: alpha-acetolactate decarboxylase, amylase, glucamylase, glucanase, pentosanase, protease, ficin, bromalain, papain, pepsin,
2/ Preservatives and antioxidants - sulphites (often piggybacking its way via gelatin and/or isinglass finings - snot, I call it), ascorbates, erythorbates, etc. (and chelating agents like EDTA - ethylene diamine tetra-acetate - to make the ascorbate function as an antioxidant as opposed to an oxidant in its absence)
3/ Foam enhancers - Alginates - other than Irish Moss
4/ Viscosity enhancers - non-mash sources of dextrins, methylcellulose,
5/ Hop extracts containing traces of solvents like methylene chloride or hexane
6/ Non fermentable sources of colour - Caramel, tannins
7/ Other processing aids - dimethylpolysiloxane, hydrogen peroxide, Acacia gum/gum Arabic, yeast food(s), clouding agents, synthetic fruit essences etc.

All of these should not be involved in craft beer but I want a legitimate line in the sand that Joe Sixpack can understand. Once he/she gets it, there is no turning back. If you batch brew, you qualify for craft. It doesn't mean your beer is any good, it just means your in the game. If you dilute, your beer can taste great but you're still part of the evil empire. Plain and simple
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Postby mintjellie » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:23 am

Just out of curiousity, what is the problem with using isinglass for fining?
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Postby SteelbackGuy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:08 pm

mintjellie wrote:Just out of curiousity, what is the problem with using isinglass for fining?



Cause you don't want to upset the vegans.
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