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Monday, January 03, 2011

Score One for Jim Koch

This just in:
Boulder, CO • January 3, 2011-The board of directors of the Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing the majority of U.S. brewing companies, has voted to change the BA's designation of "small" in its definition of a "craft brewer." The Association's board of directors also has revised its bylaws to reflect the change.
The NBA has the "Larry Bird exception," and I hope they'll call this change the Jim Koch exception. Boston Beer, Koch's company, recently passed the two-million barrel mark, causing the inevitable discomfort among the small-brewery advocacy group. It's the right decision, for a lot of reasons, not the least of them this one:
The industry's largest craft brewer, The Boston Beer Company, is poised to become the first craft brewer to surpass 2 million barrels of traditional beer within the next few years. Loss of The Boston Beer Company's production in craft brewing industry statistics would inaccurately reflect on the craft brewing industry's market share. [Itals mine.]
Still, it only forestalls a major re-thinking of the definition of "craft beer." The Brewers Association booted Craft Brewers Alliance (aka Widhook), which only brews the beer BA would otherwise consider "craft." As the years roll by, breweries will get big and complex and if BA wants to remain relevant as the collator of craft brewing statistics, it will have to deal with this complexity.

Still, props to Brewers Association for revising its arbitrary criteria.


  1. Didnt you write in a previous post earlier this year that Samuel Adams should just suck it up and pay the higher non-craft brewer tax?

  2. Probably. But my comments here were mainly from the brewers Association point of view.

    And I think the tax issue is a separate one: the feds don't rely on the Brewers Association to assess excise taxes, and I can't imagine this will do anything to keep Boston Beer's taxes low.

  3. It's thoughtful for them to triple the bar (6 million bbls of traditional beer), but will we just see Jim Koch's offspring forever raising it in the name of defining their own commercial niche? Two million barrels is a lot of freaking beer, and at some point you have to look around and realize that one's plant can't be run like a traditional craft brewery, but rather like the Macros. Spare all the adjuncts you want, the bigger you get the further away you get from using all of your senses to make beer.