What is the Difference Between a Craft Brewery and a Microbrewery? 5 Expert Classification Methods

What Size Pot Do You Need for Brewing Beer? What is the Difference Between a Craft Brewery and a Microbrewery?

When most people think of a brewery, they probably imagine a massive factory that churns out beer by the barrel. However, things have changed in the world of beer in recent years. Microbreweries and craft breweries are becoming more popular than ever before. But what exactly is the difference between the two? Are they even different at all?

A microbrewery is a smaller brewery that produces high-quality beer in small batches with a production of up to 15,000 beer barrels produced per year of which 75% of the beer must be sold off-site. These breweries tend to focus on creating new and exciting flavors using different ingredients and blending techniques rather than following traditional lager, pilsner, or ale formulas. A craft brewery is a smaller independently owned brewery that has an emphasis on innovation and experimentation when it comes to its beers with a production of 2 million gallons or less of beer per year. Craft breweries also typically market their beers as premium products with unique flavors that aren’t readily available from other breweries.

(The classification uses the beer barrels it produces in a year, which is a limit of 15,000 barrels of beer per year).

What Is a Craft Brewery?

A craft brewery is a smaller brewery that has an emphasis on innovation and experimentation when it comes to their beers. A craft brewery brews no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year, and is owned independently.

Craft breweries also typically market their beers as premium products with unique flavors that aren’t readily available from other breweries.

There are several craft breweries in the United States such as Hopsters Brewing Company, which is situated in Boston.

What Is a Microbrewery?

A microbrewery is a smaller brewery that produces high-quality beer in small batches. The classification uses the beer barrels it produces in a year, which is a limit of 15,000 barrels of beer per year.

These breweries tend to focus on creating new and exciting flavors using different ingredients and blending techniques rather than following traditional lager, pilsner, or ale formulas.

Homebrewing equipment

Differences between a microbrewery and a craft brewery

A microbrewery typically produces beer in small batches, but a craft brewery has an emphasis on innovation and experimentation when it comes to their beers.

One of the main differences between a craft brewery and microbrewery is that a craft brewery brews no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year, where microbreweries produce high-quality beer in small batches of up to 15,000 barrels per year.

The main difference is the size of the brewery.

  • A microbrewery has an annual production limit of 15,000 barrels per year, while a craft brewery has an annual production limit of 2 million gallons per year.
  • Microbreweries are mainly small establishments that focus on creating new flavors using different ingredients and blending techniques. Craft breweries also specialize in making unique beers with interesting flavors that aren’t available from other breweries.

In addition, while craft breweries market their beers as premium products with unique flavors that aren’t readily available from other breweries, microbreweries usually focus on creating new and exciting flavors using different ingredients and blending techniques instead of following traditional lager, pilsner, or ale formulas.

Finally, the ownership structure for both types of breweries differs. A microbrewery is limited to producing 15,000 barrels of beer per year and is not owned by an alcohol industry member who doesn’t qualify as a craft brewer.

A craft brewery is independently owned with less than 25% controlled or owned by an alcohol industry member who doesn’t qualify as a craft brewer and produces no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year.

The Big Difference – Provenance

The biggest difference between the two is in what they are able to brew. A microbrewery is limited to 15,000 barrels per year, which means it can only produce up to 10,000,000 pints of beer in that time period. That’s not a lot of beer when you think about how many pints are consumed in a day.

Craft breweries can produce up to 2 million gallons of beer per year and still be classified as a craft brewery. This is why craft breweries focus on innovation and experimentation with flavors. However, it’s not just in the size of the brewery where these two differences are found.

A craft brewery typically markets its beers as premium products with unique flavors that aren’t readily available from other breweries. Craft breweries can do this because they have more flexibility in their production capacity than microbreweries.

Microbreweries cannot produce these types of specialty beers because they would exceed their 15,000 barrel limit. This could mean the failure of a microbrewery if they tried to market their beers as premium and unique when competing with other established brands like Budweiser or Coors Light who have been marketing themselves as such for years now.

The main difference between the two is that craft breweries have a focus on innovation and experimentation, while microbreweries are more concerned with producing high-quality beer in limited batches. The other distinction is in the type of ownership.

A microbrewery must be independently owned as well, but a craft brewery can be owned by a larger company as long as it brews no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year. The other major difference between the two comes down to provenance.

Microbrewers focus on using traditional recipes and methods, while craft breweries often experiment with new ingredients and techniques. For example, if you were brewing an IPA, some craft brewers might use unusual hops or different malts to get a unique flavor profile. In contrast, a microbrewer would probably stick to tried-and-true ingredients for their flagship product.

Quality of ingredients is one of the differences between a microbrewery and a craft brewery

The Big Difference – Quality of Ingredients

The big difference between a craft brewery and a microbrewery is the quality of ingredients. A microbrewery typically relies on cheaper and lower-quality ingredients, which means their beer may not taste as good as a craft brewery’s beer might.

This isn’t to say that every microbrewery uses low-quality ingredients. However, it is more common with them than with a craft brewery that relies on more expensive and higher-quality ingredients. To summarize, the main difference between these two breweries is the quality of their beer, which can be determined by their ingredients.

So what’s the difference? A microbrewery is a smaller brewery that produces high-quality beer in small batches, while a craft brewery has an emphasis on innovation and experimentation when it comes to their beers.

A microbrewery brews no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year. It uses traditional lager, pilsner, or ale formulas to produce traditional European-style beers. On the other hand, a craft brewery is a smaller brewery that brews no more than 6 million gallons of beer per year and markets its beers as premium products with unique flavors.

The big difference between these two types of breweries is the quality of ingredients they use in their beers. Craft breweries use all-natural ingredients, like potatoes and hops, which are often grown locally.

Microbreweries will typically use cheaper ingredients like corn or rice to cut costs. This makes for a very different taste in the final product.

The Big Difference – Volume Produced

The big difference between a craft brewery and a microbrewery is the volume of beer that can be produced.

A craft brewery is also independently owned and typically markets their beers as premium products with unique flavors not readily available from other breweries.

The big difference between a microbrewery and a craft brewery is the volume of beer that each produces in a year. A craft brewery will produce no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year, while a microbrewery can produce up to 15,000 barrels of brew per year.

The smaller production volume makes it easier for these breweries to experiment with different flavors and ingredients, which is why many people see them as being more innovative than traditional breweries.

The Brewing Process

Microbreweries typically rely on brewing techniques that many macrobreweries abandoned long ago. This means they use traditional methods in order to create a more artisanal product.

For example, they often use open fermentation in order to produce beers with a more distinct flavor profile. They also tend to focus on creating new and exciting flavors using different ingredients and blending techniques rather than following traditional lager, pilsner, or ale formulas.

Craft breweries have an emphasis on innovation and experimentation when it comes to their beers. Craft breweries brew no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year, which is a limit of 15,000 barrels of beer per year.

They also typically market their beers as premium products with unique flavors not readily available from other breweries. The difference between microbreweries and craft breweries is size, marketing style, and focus on innovation.

The two are not mutually exclusive; some microbreweries are classified as craft breweries based on how innovative they are in the field of brewing beer while still producing less than 2 million gallons per year.

Marketing and PR Strategies

One way for you to get your product or service known is to partner with other companies. For example, if you have a home-brewing kit, you could partner with a local brewery to highlight both of your products in an event.

This would show people how the two products work together and make it more likely that they will buy both items. Another strategy is to participate in events like wine or beer tastings.

You can set up a booth at these events and get people excited about your product by offering free samples and educating on the process of creating craft beers or wines.

How many beer styles are recognized by the brewers association?

The American Brewer’s association recognize 152 beer styles currently with new styles being created all the time. Although there is no universal definition for a craft beer, the Brewers Association (BA) defines a craft brewer as small, independent, and traditional.

A brewery is considered to be small if it produces 6 million barrels of beer or less annually. It’s considered to be independent if it’s at least 75% owned or controlled by a craft brewery. And it’s considered to be traditional if they use traditional ingredients and fermentation methods in their beers.

Craft breweries are making up an increasing number of the breweries in America. In 1980 there were just 89 craft breweries in the country but now there are over 3 thousand with a majority of those being microbreweries that produce 15 barrels or less each year. Craft breweries are estimated to have produced 11.6 million barrels of beer in 2021 alone and are very relevant in today’s economy.

What to expect when ordering a craft beer?

What to expect when ordering a craft beer?

  • Unfiltered and unpasteurized beer- In most instances, craft beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized. This means that it has all the natural nutrients available in beer.
  • No chemicals, no additives- One of the most noticeable qualities is that it is unpasteurized, so it doesn’t have any chemicals or additives.
  • Real malts- The liquid you are getting at a craft brewery is all-natural, real malts, and innovative brewing techniques.
  • Innovative brewing techniques- Craft beer combines both the original brewing techniques with new innovative techniques to produce beers with
  • Served at slightly warmers temperatures- It’s served at slightly warmer temperatures than traditional beers to encourage a more full-bodied flavor.
  • Brewed using natural ingredients- Craft breweries also use natural ingredients in their brewing process such as hops, grains, yeast, and water. These ingredients are sourced locally.
  • Craft beer is made with quality in mind
  • Craft beer is only legalized in one or a few states- Most of the times, craft beer is legalized in one state instead of several. Therefore, it is may cause challenges with the law if the beer is sold in different states.

How to Determine If You Are at a Microbrewery or Craft Brewery

Microbreweries are generally small, family-owned establishments with a focus on producing innovative beers. They produce fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer per year and typically have a tasting room where patrons can sample the beers before purchasing them.

Craft breweries, on the other hand, are also small and privately owned. However, they produce no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year and market their products as premium items with unique flavors that smaller breweries may not offer.

The easiest way to tell if you are at a microbrewery or craft brewery is by looking for these signs:

  • Microbreweries will typically offer fewer than 20 rotating beers in their tasting room, with most being less than 6% alcohol by volume (ABV). They usually carry only one type of draft beer at any given time.
  • Craft breweries tend to offer between 25-40 different beers in their tasting rooms, with many being 7% ABV or higher. It’s not uncommon for craft breweries to carry multiple types of draft beer at once.

The Bottom Line

While there are some similarities between the two, it is important to note that they are different. Craft breweries tend to focus on innovation and experimentation with their beers, while microbreweries don’t have such a heavy focus on experimentation but instead focus on making the high-quality beer in small batches. They are both worth considering if you want to be successful in the brewing industry.

FAQs

What is a craft brewery?

A craft brewery is a smaller brewery with an emphasis on innovation and experimentation when it comes to their beers. A craft brewery produces no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year and is owned independently. Craft breweries also typically market their beers as premium products with unique flavors that aren’t readily available from other breweries.

What is a microbrewery?

A microbrewery is a smaller brewery that produces high-quality beer in small batches. The classification uses the number of barrels it produces in a year, which is a limit of 15,000 barrels of beer per year. These breweries tend to focus on creating new and exciting flavors using different ingredients and blending techniques rather than following traditional lager, pilsner, or ale formulas.

What makes a macro brewery?

A “macro brewery” is a brewery that has an annual production of over six million barrels of beer per year. These breweries tend to produce the same tried-and-true styles, like lager, pilsner, or ale, and often use adjuncts like rice and corn to simplify the brewing process.

What is smaller than a nano brewery?

While a microbrewery is defined as a brewery that produces 15,000 barrels of beer annually, a nano brewery is classified as one that produces under 1,000 barrels. Pico brewing falls between the two classifications and produces less than 7 barrels of beer per year. These breweries are typically known for their experimental beers and small batch offerings.

What classifies a microbrewery?

A microbrewery is a smaller brewery that produces high-quality beer in small batches. The classification uses the beer barrels it produces in a year, which is a limit of 15,000 barrels of beer per year. These breweries tend to focus on creating new and exciting flavors using different ingredients and blending techniques rather than following traditional lager, pilsner, or ale formulas.

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