A good place to start is the concrete definition of a craft brewery. The Brewers Association, our industry’s leading trade group, emphasizes production volume and ownership. You have to be small: annual production can’t exceed 6 million barrels of beer (one barrel = 31 U.S. gallons); and you have to be independent: no more than 25 percent of a craft brewery can be owned by a non-craft brewer (say, a private equity firm).
And craft breweries have a few subgroups. Is a craft brewery the same as a microbrewery? You’ve likely heard those terms used interchangeably, but to be a true microbrewery, you make less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year and sell the majority of it at retail shops, not at the brewery itself. Sierra Nevada is a “Regional Brewery” since we exceed 15,000 barrels annually but fall well short of the max 6 million barrels.
Read more from The Sierra Nevada Blog here.