Is Colorado the center of the "crafty" beer universe?

Categories: Beer Man

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?


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Location Info

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Blue Moon Brewing Company

2145 Blake St. Denver, CO, Denver, CO

Category: General

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16 comments
Mark McDonnell
Mark McDonnell

Not if u are using that god awful mass produced Blue Moon as your example. Of all the amazing beers out there from Colorado and that was what was chosen. For that reason and that reason alone I have to say no!

Matt Levan
Matt Levan

It doesn't matter if 5 people work there and produce less than 2,000 barrels a year. If I pay for it here in America and the money ends up in a bank account in Belgium or Canada, then there's nothing craft about that.

Erik Zapiler
Erik Zapiler

I'm going to risk drawing a lot of fire here and say that it's really unfair to lump AC Golden's small batch sour brews and limited edition beers such as Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout in with Shocktop and Blue Moon. In terms of quality, these beers are world class, regardless of who's paying the light bill.

Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

They should have to disclose the origin!

Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

WHAT THE SHIT! Blue moon, really, really. How could you ask this question with the label off Coors, fascist piss up there in the box. Blue moon is not craft beer.

Darry
Darry

Probably it is.  But CO is also the center of the  CRAFT beer universe as well.

And no kvetching from people about Oregon will change that.

Terin Blake
Terin Blake

If you were to read the article, Kevin, it's about whether macro breweries like Coors should have to label the companies they've invested in, like Blue Moon, as a Coors product. Hence, the term "craft-y".

M Kathleen's Art
M Kathleen's Art

I tried a beer by Bristrol Brewery here in the Springs last night...I was pretty impressed with the MASS TRANSIT ALE....2 thumbs up!

Christopher David
Christopher David

With so many real craft brewers in the state, it makes sense that the mega-breweries would work extra hard to undercut them.

Kevin Brauer
Kevin Brauer

But Blue Moon is mass produced by Coors. Use a real Colorado craft beer photo for this story.

Ben Deco
Ben Deco

Fuck beer. But our growers have some top notch genetics.

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

I suppose the information about Craft vs. "crafty" is worth the Association pointing out, but yes it does seem to be a little unnecessary... unless someone knows something I don't and they felt the need to toss out the presser (which is obviously a possibility).

Will_
Will_

@milleralexjames You'd be amazed by how many people don't know that Shock Top or Blue Moon are brewed by AB/InBev or SAB/MillerCoors. They think that there are actual BM and ST breweries.

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