Many beer drinkers care about who makes their beer, and now there's a new effort to help make that more clear.
The Brewers Association, which is a trade group that represents the interests of small and independent craft breweries, has launched a seal breweries can use on packaging and tap handles to show they're independently owned.
This comes as more and more small, craft breweries are getting gobbled up by the big guys, which is making it a little tougher to figure out who exactly is making your beer. (You can read more about the “illusion of choice” that we could see this year in this story from CraftBeer.com.)
"As big beer acquires former craft brands, beer drinkers have become increasingly confused about which brewers remain independent. Beer lovers are interested in transparency when it comes to brewery ownership. This seal is a simple way to provide that clarity – now they can know what’s been brewed small and certified independent," Bob Pease of the Brewers Association said in a statement.
Any of the 5,300 small, independent craft breweries that meet the Brewers Association definition of craft brewer can sign a license agreement and get the seal. And so far, more than 1,000 breweries have adopted the seal, including Minneapolis-based Modist Brewing.
The brewery recently posted on its blog explaining why this seal is so important to them. Modist says big breweries like ABInBev "are panicking" as craft beers continue to grow in popularity, so they've started "creating or acquiring brands that they pass off as 'craft.'"
If this continues, it'll mean fewer choices, "blander, more homogenous beers," and lost jobs, Modist says.
The brewery hopes the seal will help people make informed choices when choosing a beer. As more breweries put the seal on their beers, people will notice that some beers that look like a craft beer don't have the seal, which will "hopefully cause consumers to pause, reconsider, and reach for an option produced by an independent – and maybe even local – brewery."