When the Brewers Association launched the Certified Independent Craft seal last June, the intention was to help consumers identify small, traditional and independently-owned craft breweries in a rapidly growing and often confusing marketplace. Since then, over 3,100 craft breweries representing more than 75% of American craft beer volume have committed to using the seal on their bottles and cans, glassware, menus, even on their front doors. The seal signifies the brewery’s commitment to transparency, assuring the consumer that the beer they’re about to drink was made by a brewery that stands by the principles of quality, community and independence.
As the number of craft breweries has exploded in the past ten years – there were over 6,200 operating craft breweries at the end of 2017 – there’s also been an increase in the number of craft breweries acquired by multinational brewing conglomerates. Big Beer uses their massive size and influence to promote these “crafty” brands and muscle independent breweries off of retail shelves. A 2017 Nielsen study found that independent brewery ownership factored heavily into the purchasing decisions of 81% of craft beer drinkers. The Certified Independent Craft seal differentiates craft beer from “crafty” beer, helping consumers find and support independent breweries.
Now, in addition to breweries, the Brewers Association has made the Certified Independent Craft seal available to retailers. With so many choices available, it is in the retailer’s best interest to help steer customers toward beer made by independent craft brewers. To wit, studies have shown that customers spent 12% more on independent craft beer and bought 43% more often than customers who purchased brands acquired by Big Beer.
Like independence, locally-produced beer also greatly influences the craft beer drinker’s purchasing habits. A recent DataQuencher study found that roughly three out of every four Ohio craft beer drinkers were generally sure if the beer they purchased was made in Ohio. Part of the reason for that high rate of recognition is the Ohio Craft Beer seal developed by the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. OCBA member breweries are licensed to use the seal on their packaging as a benefit of membership, further helping the consumer to find locally-made beer. Other state brewers guilds also have similar seals to differentiate their state’s craft beer in the marketplace.
Consumers demand transparency when making their purchasing decisions. The Certified Independent Craft and Ohio Craft Beer seals educate craft beer drinkers at the point of purchase, eliminating confusion and leading to greater satisfaction among craft beer enthusiasts as they know where their dollars go. Look for the seals the next time you buy beer.