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Yazoo Brewing Company’s Linus Hall weighs in on ‘Craft v. Crafty’ debate

December 20, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Opinion

Yazoo Brewing CompanyWednesday was a busy day for beer news in the Mid-South, with the announcement of the opening of a new brewery in Memphis and news that Brooklyn Brewery will start distribution of its beers in Memphis in February.

So I missed the fact that Yazoo Brewing Company’s founder Linus Hall weighed in on the “Craft v. Crafty” debate, spurred by a statement last week from the Brewers Association regarding the increase in production of craft-like beers by large, non-craft breweries.

The not-for-profit trade association called out Anheuser-Bush InBev and SABMiller for blurring the lines “between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today’s small and independent brewers.” (Read the statement here.)

Hall responded Wednesday on Yazoo’s blog.

I personally think that the general public deserves to make up their own mind on what beer and brands they want to support with their hard-earned money.  Most “craft” beer drinkers are choosing to buy their beers based on flavor and taste, but also because they like to support small businesses, often ones based in their own community.  My main problem with the brands that the Brewers Association called out as “faux crafty”, brands like MillerCoors’ Blue Moon or A-B’s Shock Top, is that the consumer is often confused as to who the true brewer of the brand is.  But the same can be said of a lot of the “craft” beers on the shelf in your local Kroger, that are solely contract-brewed at big facilities like City Brewery’s plants in Wisconsin and now in Memphis.

Read Hall’s full blog post here.

Craft vs. Crafty: A statement from the Brewers Association on Big Beer’s foray into craft

December 13, 2012 By: mike Category: Beer in the news, Craft beer

Brewers Association logoWith recent attention being paid to Big Beer and craft breweries by the likes of Fortune and CNN, the Brewers Association issued a statement today regarding the increase in production of craft-like beers by large, non-craft breweries.

The not-for-profit trade association, which is dedicated to small and independent American craft brewers, called out Anheuser-Bush InBev and SABMiller for blurring the lines “between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today’s small and independent brewers.”

What do you think about the statement? Read it below and feel free to comment.

An American craft brewer is defined as small and independent. Their annual production is 6 million barrels of beer or less and no more than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.

The community of small and independent craft brewers has grown as beer enthusiasts embrace new, diverse beers brewed by their neighbors and friends who are invested in their local communities. Beer drinkers are voting with their palates and dollars to support these entrepreneurs and their small and independent businesses.

In 2011, small and independent craft brewers saw their industry grow 13 percent by volume; in the first half of 2012, volume grew by an additional 12 percent. Meanwhile, the overall beer industry was down 1.3 percent by volume and domestic non-craft was down 5 million barrels in 2011.

Witnessing both the tremendous success and growth of craft brewers and the fact that many beer lovers are turning away from mass-produced light lagers, the large brewers have been seeking entry into the craft beer marketplace. Many started producing their own craft-imitating beers, while some purchased (or are attempting to purchase) large or full stakes in small and independent breweries.

While this is certainly a nod to the innovation and ingenuity of today’s small and independent brewers, it’s important to remember that if a large brewer has a controlling share of a smaller producing brewery, the brewer is, by definition, not craft. However, many non-standard, non-light “crafty” beers found in the marketplace today are not labeled as products of large breweries. So when someone is drinking a Blue Moon Belgian Wheat Beer, they often believe that it’s from a craft brewer, since there is no clear indication that it’s made by SABMiller. The same goes for Shock Top, a brand that is 100 percent owned by Anheuser-Bush InBev, and several others that are owned by a multinational brewing and beverage company.

The large, multinational brewers appear to be deliberately attempting to blur the lines between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today’s small and independent brewers. We call for transparency in brand ownership and for information to be clearly presented in a way that allows beer drinkers to make an informed choice about who brewed the beer they are drinking.

And for those passionate beer lovers out there, we ask that you take the time to familiarize yourself with who is brewing the beer you are drinking. Is it a product of a small and independent brewer? Or is it from a crafty large brewer, seeking to capitalize on the mounting success of small and independent craft brewers? [source]

Brewers Association reports 2012 mid-year growth for U.S. craft brewers

August 07, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer

Here’s the latest release from the Brewers Association, which is reporting 2012 mid-year growth for U.S. craft brewers:

Dollar growth up 14% in first six months of 2012; Total brewery count hits 125-year high

Boulder, CO • August 6, 2012—The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing the majority of U.S. brewing companies, has released strong mid-year numbers for America’s small and independent craft brewers. Dollar sales were up 14 percent in the first half of 2012, while volume of craft brewed beer sold jumped 12 percent during that same time period.

Barrels sold by craft brewers for the first six months of 2012 are an estimated 6.0 million barrels. Despite a number of challenges, including decreased overall beer sales, the mid-year numbers show signs of continued growth for craft breweries. The industry currently provides an estimated 104,000 full-time and part-time jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.

“Generally, most craft brewers are continuing to see strong growth in production, sales, brewing capacity and employment, which is to be celebrated during challenged times for many of today’s small businesses,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “Plus it’s a fact that beer drinkers are responding to the quality and diversity created by small American brewing companies. India pale ales, seasonal beers, Belgian-inspired ales and a range of specialty beers are just a few of the beer styles that are growing rapidly.”

125-Year Brewery Count

The U.S. now boasts 2,126 breweries—an increase of 350 additional breweries since June 2011. The BA also tracks breweries in planning as an indicator of potential new entrants into the craft category, and lists 1,252 breweries in planning today compared to 725 a year ago. Additionally, the count of craft brewers was at 2,075 as of June 30, 2012 showing that 97 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers.

“Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended for the beverage of moderation,” Gatza added. “There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country.”

Boscos wins gold for Hefeweizen at 2012 World Beer Cup

May 08, 2012 By: mike Category: Competition, Craft beer, Memphis

World Beer Cup 2012Boscos won its first medal at the World Beer Cup this weekend, capturing the gold for the Boscos Hefeweizen.

Boscos won in “Category 52: German-Style Pale Wheat Ale,” which had 22 entries. It was only the second time Boscos had entered the World Beer Cup, according to Boscos founding partner Chuck Skypeck.

And it was the second big win in the past year for the Boscos Hefeweizen, which also took gold at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.

Boscos has brewpubs in Memphis, Nashville and Franklin in Tennessee, as well as Little Rock, Ark. The Hefeweizen was brewed at the Little Rock brewery, though all the Boscos breweries entered the beer collectively.

The 2012 World Beer Cup, the ninth bi-annual such competition, boasted the strongest field of entrants on record, with 799 breweries from 54 countries and 45 U.S. states entering 3,921 beers in 95 beer style categories. A 17.7 percent increase over 2010,  entries were eligible for gold, silver and bronze awards in their respective categories. Judges presented a total of 284 awards.

“It’s called ‘The Olympics of Beer Competition’ for good reason,” said Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, the U.S.-based trade association that has put on the competition every two years since 1996.

“The event brings together great brewers from all corners of the globe. Plus, the awards are highly regarded. A brewer who wins a World Beer Cup gold award knows that their winning beer represents the best of that beer style in the world. Congratulations to all the winners of the 2012 World Beer Cup. The Brewers Association and the proud sponsors of our event thank all participating brewers for their involvement.”

Go here for a complete list of winners.