Remember when the Brewers Association debuted the Independent Craft Brewer Seal, and it was called out and belittled by recently Big Beer-acquired brewers? We made ample fun of it in that linked post, but some highlight quotes were:
- “At the end of the day, the beer does the talking — not the label on the package,” from Garrett Wales of 10 Barrel Brewing Co.
- Consumers don’t necessarily care about independence — says Felipe Szpigel, The High End — it’s about the impact small businesses have on their communities.
- To be truly punk, you follow your own rules, says David Buhler from Elysian.
Well, despite all of that pious wisdom, in less than eight months, more than 3,000 craft brewing companies —representing more than 6,000 craft brewing locations in the United States — have signed on to use the independent craft brewer seal. Here’s a full update from Julia Herz, program director of the BA:
Over time, as more beer lovers “seek the seal,” it will have a powerful impact on purchasing decisions. One of the main goals of the certified mark is to ensure that beer from small and independent U.S. craft brewers continues to be top of mind despite the flood of acquired beer brands now making their way into the market.
We are also seeing incredible interest from newly opened breweries and the many breweries in planning. Craft brewers are using the seal in a myriad of ways to wave the flag of #independentbeer. Early adopters see it as a mark of distinction, differentiation, and certification.
Brewers have been adding the seal to everything tied to their brands, especially packaged beer—bottles, cans, six-pack carriers, case boxes, keg collars, and more. Brewers, are you still on the fence? Remember, there is strength in numbers, and the movement is growing. Plus, the Brewers Association has written acknowledgment from the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) that a revised Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) is not needed for label changes where the addition of the independent craft brewer seal is the only substantive edit.
Retailers are getting in on the act, too, and should be rewarded when they stock their store coolers and beer lists with independent beer. We also have resources for those retailers who want to declare their support.