What consumers demand from the food and beverage industry has gone through some major changes in the past few years. One of these changes is the rise of the craft brewing industry as a major player in the overall beer and alcohol market. According to an article from the Detroit Free Press highlighting the movement, the craft beer industry has doubled since 2004 and more than 250 breweries have opened since last year. In fact, the 1,940 that were operating in 2011 was the most the United States has seen since the 1880s.
"Beer drinkers are much more knowledgeable than 15 years ago," says Paul gatza, director of the Brewers Association to the Detroit Free Press. "Local is a major purchase-decision point these days, so local brewers that keep money circulating in a community is where people want to put their money. And the beer drinker is starting to discover hops."
According to the Brewers' Association, craft beer is defined by being made by a relatively small, local or regional brewery and producing fewer than 6 million barrels annually as well as less than 25 percent of the company being owned by a major brewer.
One of the key highlights of the "craft beer" definition comes in the local aspect of the terminology. Although many companies that get ousted by this definition – such as MillerCoor's Leinenkugel from Wisconsin and Anheuser-Bush's Goose Island from Chicago – prefer to disregard the literal terminology when marketing themselves, to others it's become a point of pride.
As previously reported by this blog, Pretty Things Ale based out of the Greater Boston area takes great pride in the way it designs the custom labels on its bottles as these tend to reflect the burgeoning demand for locally produced products – like craft beer – by alluding to many local aspects in them. Other breweries may benefit from the same practice by investing in a color label printer to create these customized labels celebrating their craft status.