Bob Pease, chief executive/president of the Brewers Association — the not-for-profit trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers — explains the importance of independence in the American craft brewing industry
In SIBA’s (Society for Independent Brewers) recently published British Craft Beer Report 2019, the importance of independence was addressed and highlighted. Over in the States, independence remains one of the hallmarks of the American craft beer industry, and the Brewers Association works tirelessly to communicate and promote its importance.
In America, transparency of ownership is a key driver of purchase intent, and beer drinkers really care about who makes their beer. However, there is a lack of clarity of ownership in the marketplace as global brewing companies continue to acquire former small and independent breweries.
Beer drinkers are finding it difficult to identify beer from an independent brewery when making purchasing decisions. Hence why, back in 2017, we introduced the Independent Craft Brewer Seal to minimise confusion in the marketplace and clearly identify beers from small and independent American craft breweries.
It has subsequently been adopted by more than 4,200 small and independent breweries, representing more than 85% of domestic volume. Among the Top 50 US breweries, 86% have adopted the seal and 62% have activated it, meaning they have placed it on packaging, websites, social channels, merchandise etc.
In a recent Nielsen survey, 40% of people said the seal would make them “more” or “much more” likely to buy that beer, a 5% increase from the previous year. That number jumps to 57% for craft beer lovers aged 21 to 34 (up from 45% a year ago), with 23% stating that it would make them “much more” likely to purchase.
The seal features an iconic beer bottle shape flipped upside down and captures the spirit with which craft brewers have upended beer while informing beer lovers they are choosing a beer from a brewery that is independently owned. As ‘big’ brewers continue to have unprecedented influence and acquire millions of barrels of formerly independently brewed beer, the seal differentiates in a crowded and increasingly competitive marketplace.
In order to keep the seal top of mind, the Brewers Association launched a new national awareness campaign for independent brewers last year — ‘That’s Independence You’re Tasting’. This integrated advertising campaign is part of ongoing efforts to distinguish and promote America’s small and independent craft brewers.
Earlier this year, the Brewers Association introduced a new seal exclusively for supporters of the independent American craft brewing movement. The supporter seal — which emulates the Independent Craft Brewer Seal — is available to any champions of independent American craft breweries, including retailers, distributors, importers, festivals, websites and many more.
Establishments and outlets in the UK are welcome to use the new supporter seal, too, as long as they represent bona fide American craft beers. The supporter seal can be accessed via a newly-launched website
www.supportindependentbeer.com. Here you can find assets for activation, information and history about the independent craft brewer seal, and ‘Is It a Craft Brewery?’, a comprehensive, searchable database of all U S breweries that identifies which breweries meet the Brewers Association craft brewer definition. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #seektheseal
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.
The BA represents 4,000-plus US breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers.
The BA organises events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week.
The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the largest publisher of brewing literature in the US.
Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app.