Because not everyone in the craft beer scene is a brewer.
Back when America’s craft beer scene began in the ‘80s and ‘90s, independent breweries were pretty easy to spot: The biggest brewers dominated the beer landscape, primarily with yellow lagers, and the craft brewers were on the sidelines, typically offering ales. But ironically enough, craft beer has now so influenced the beer industry as a whole that teasing apart the genuine indie brands from those owned by a larger conglomerate can be tricky. So as a way to champion the ideals that spawned the craft beer movement, the Brewers Association (BA) — which represents these independent breweries — launched a “Certified Independent Craft” seal in 2017.
The majority of craft beer produced in the U.S. now bears that seal on its packaging, but what about all the other businesses that help support the craft beer movement — the places these beers are bought and sold, drank and discussed? Today, the BA has launched a new, similar seal specifically for “any champions of independent craft breweries including retailers, distributors, homebrew shops, state brewers guilds, festivals, websites and allied trade companies.” This “supporter seal” is being launched alongside a new website — SupportIndependentBeer.com — explaining its importance and how to use it.
“While small and independent breweries work heavily to promote their craft, they also rely on a layered group of partners to proudly sell, serve and showcase their beer. These beer community stakeholders have asked for ways to support the independent craft brewer seal, and now they can,” explained Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Brewers Association. “From printing it on menus or grouping independent craft beers together at retail, to prominent signage at beer festivals, now is a great time for supporters to put the seal in play and help advance the beverage of beer.” Meanwhile, the BA didn’t specifically address getting the new seal tattooed on your arm, but it’s certainly more fitting than the old seal because, you know, you’re a supporter, not a brewery.