US changes classification for craft brewers?

07 January, 2011

The US Brewers Association has changed the definition of “small” among the country’s craft brewers.

The term can now apply to any independent brewery that produces up to 6 million barrels of traditional beer. The previous qualification capped production at 2 million barrels. The association said the change reflected the relative size of craft brewers as opposed to global players.

“Thirty-four years have passed since the original small brewers tax differential defined small brewers as producing less than 2 million barrels,” said Nick Matt, chairman of the Brewers Association and chief executive of FX Matt Brewing Co. “A lot has changed since 1976. The largest brewer in the US has grown from 45 million barrels to 300 million barrels of global beer production.” The industry’s biggest craft brewer, Boston Beer, which brews Samuel Adams lager, is on course to become the first craft brewer to surpass 2 million barrels of traditional beer in the next few years. Loss of its production figures in craft brewing industry statistics would inaccurately reflect on the craft brewing industry’s market share, the Brewers Association said.

Matt added: “With this change to the craft brewer definition and BA bylaws, statistics will continue to accurately reflect the 30-year growth of market share for craft-brewed beer.”

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