To accommodate the growing craft beer industry and those breweries that are coming close to surpassing the previous maximum on the number of barrels which constitute a craft brewer, the Brewer’s Association has changed the rules. The previous definition capped out a craft brewer at 2 million barrels per year. The new definition of a craft brewer, as of December 20, 2010, has been bumped up to 6 million barrels. To give you an idea of the quantity of beer we are talking about…1 beer barrel equals 31 gallons of beer, that’s about two kegs worth. 6 million barrels equals 12 million kegs. That’s one hell of a party.The Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams beers is staged to become the first craft brewer to surpass the 2 million barrel mark within the next few years.
Although some may not be thrilled about the idea of such a large brewery continuing to segment itself in the craft beer market, in comparison, Anheuser Busch produces over 125 million barrels per year. That’s a heck of a lot more beer than Sam Adams is making.
Nick Matt, a Board Member for the Brewer’s Association, commented on the recent change: “Rather than removing members due to their success, the craft brewing industry should be celebrating our growth.”
As larger craft breweries such as Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Magic Hat and Dogfish Head continue to grow and popularity increases, expect to see more of these companies getting closer to the larger volume production that The Boston Beer Company is at. The flood gates are open, the craft beer movement is in full swing. Cheers to that.
If you would like to see the full definition of a craft brewer, visit the Brewer’s Association website