The Brewers Association board of directors informed members on Tuesday it is considering updating the craft brewer definition. If the changes go through, this will be the third time the definition has changed.
According to Brewbound, BA chair and Left Hand Brewing founder Eric Wallace wrote in an email to members that the association is proposing an update to the third part of the craft brewer definition: “traditional.”
The current definition indicates that an American craft brewer is “small, independent, and traditional.” “Small” refers to a brewery’s annual production not exceeding 6 million barrels of beer per year; “independent” indicates less than 25 percent of the brewery is owned by a larger, non-craft industry member; and “traditional” means a majority of beverage volume is made with “traditional or innovative brewing ingredients,” such as malted barley.
Presently, the BA’s craft brewer definition says “Flavored Malt Beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.” However, with more brewers experimenting with non-traditional adjuncts and other innovations, such as hard seltzer, Wallace writes, another update may be in order.
The BA has changed the craft brewer definition twice since its introduction in 2007. In 2010, the “small” component was updated to include breweries producing up to 6 million barrels annually, from 2 million barrels. In 2014, language was updated in all three sections, namely in the “traditional” section, where the BA acknowledged adjunct brewing is traditional.