New labels to designate craft beers made by independent brewers

WASHINGTON — Beverage giants are increasingly buying up successful craft brewers, and the Brewers Association thinks consumers have the right to know if the craft brew they’re drinking has independent owners.

The Brewers Association has launched a new seal that designates beers produced by independent craft brewers, saying there is an increasing public interest in transparency.

The Brewers Association also said the label is intended to differentiate, not denigrate.

“We understand that some of the beer drinking population just wants to drink the beer they like. They don’t care who owns it and that’s fine,” Bob Pease, CEO of the Boulder, Colorado-based Brewers Association, told WTOP.

“But there is the other segment of the population that recognizes that craft brewers build communities and that spirit of independent ownership does matter,” he said.

The seal is a beer bottle shape turned upside down, capturing the spirit of how craft brewers have upended the beer industry, the association said.

Pease defined what is an independent brewer: “Less than 25 percent of a craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer,” Pease said.

The seal is free for licensed craft brewers, and to both member and nonmember breweries of the Brewers Association.

Pease said that more than 600 of the 5,300 or so small and independent craft brewers registered in the U.S. have already signed up for the seal.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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