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What Is Craft Beer?

Craft Beer

If you have a friend who is a craft beer enthusiast, odds are their fridge has a constant rotation of exciting cans and bottles. But what makes a beer earn the label of “craft?”

For some, it’s the passion to uphold Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s beer purity law that shackles brewers from experimenting with anything beyond water, barley and hops. But for others, it’s all about creative expression. From brewing with a medley of wild yeasts to inventing new equipment, craft breweries are taking beer-making to the next level.

The Brewers Association has a more vague definition of craft beer that includes the following: “The brewery must be small, independent and traditional in nature and cannot be more than 30% owned by a large macrobrewery.” That eliminates brands like Goose Island, who once produced some of the country’s best stouts, from being considered craft breweries because they were purchased by AB InBev.

Regardless of how they’re defined, there’s no doubt that craft beers have become much more popular in recent years. Many consumers have embraced a shift from icy-cold mass-market lagers to more flavorful craft options that can be enjoyed at any temperature. But what’s behind this growth? And how can beer producers tap into this consumer trend?

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