This content was originally published by The Hop Review, a digital magazine that joined the Hop Culture family in March 2020.
This piece was written by Jack Muldowney.
With each passing day, beer consumers are being introduced to more and more purchasing options. But, just how exactly can one ensure that what they are purchasing is in fact independent beer? The answer’s simple. Just seek out the independent craft brewer seal, launched as an industry effort by the Brewers Association (BA) in June of 2017. Since its inception, more than 3,600 small and independent breweries have adopted the seal on their packaging (that distinctive upside-down bottle, situated so, as to reflect independent beer’s flipping the industry on its head). That’s over half of the more than 6,400 independent breweries in the U.S. And of those thousands of American breweries, a staggering 98% are considered small and independent. That’s a statistic to be proud of, and one that fans of beer can truly rally behind.
INDEPENDENCE NOT ONLY MATERS, IT PAYS
And as the category continues to grow, so does Big Beer’s interest in this segment of the overall market. Therein lies an opportunity for confusion, as to what truly is independent beer, and what may actually now be a beer brand owned by the ‘Bigs.’ The fact is, beer drinkers are interested in the people behind their beer, and the opportunity to support their small, and often local, independent brewers and business owners. Beer drinkers want transparency, and the opportunity to confidently consider their purchase decision.
In 2017, craft brewers sold 24.9 million barrels of beer in the U.S. in 2017, and saw a 5% rise in volume and an 8% increase in retail dollar value. Craft brewing’s growth occurred in the context of a total beer market which dropped 1% by volume in 2017. According to a recent Nielsen study, more is spent on independent beer, with the purchase size for independent craft consumers 12% larger than the purchase size of Big Beer acquired brand consumers. And independent craft consumers purchase 43% more frequently per year compared to the consumers of Big Beer acquired brands.
TOGETHER, RETAILERS CAN HELP SEAL THE DEAL
And as we as beer lovers continue to vote with our dollars, consider seeking out the BA’s seal, to support independent brewers. While packaging remains the #1 place to spot the upside-down bottle icon, keep an eye out for the seal on menus, retail signage and tap handles.
As the movement continues to grow, the Brewers Association is equipping on- and off-premise retailers with a collection of free assets to activate the independent craft brewer seal and differentiate independent craft beer from Big Beer acquired brands. From better beer bars and restaurants to liquor and grocery stores, retailers interested in winning in beer and elevating how they promote independent craft beer can find free downloads to do so at BrewersAssociation.org/RetailerSealPOS.
This is a sponsored post written by THR in partnership with the Brewers Association. All opinions are 100% our own.
We stand with craft.