Is craft beer a beer style or beer lifestyle?

March 30, 2019
Tim Taricco

Tim Taricco

Craft Beer Enthusiast

Big Beer makes it confusing

Big Beer's recent acquisitions of craft beer breweries has confused beer consumers as to what craft beer is. Visit a corporate chain restaurant like Applebee's or Buffalo Wild Wings and you'll find their menus filled with beers categorized as craft beer. But, are they really craft? These restaurants have contracts with Big Beer for keg discounts, filling their taps with Big Beer's brands. Some of the crafty beers brands you'll see are Anheuser-Busch InBev's Goose Island, MillerCoor's Terrapin, Heineken's Lagunitas and Ballast Point from Constellation Brands.

Craft beer defined

The definition of craft beer comes from the Brewers Association. While the production volume (6 million barrels of beer or less) of the brewery partly defines a craft brewery, corporate conglomerate percentage of ownership is what really separates a craft brewery from a Big Beer crafty brand. If a brewery is 25% or more owned by Big Beer, the brewery is no longer considered a craft brewer.

Craft beer as a lifestyle

Choosing to avoid Big Beer crafty beer brands and seek out real craft beer can change your lifestyle. In general, when you're out about town or on vacation, avoiding corporate chain restaurants will help you escape boring beer menus with Big Beer crafty brands. Look for that locally owned restaurant gem that serves the local, interesting and unique craft beers. Today's smartphones make it easy to find local restaurants through Google or apps like Yelp.