About three weeks ago, the Brewer’s Association (BA) announced news of a seal to identify independent brewers.

As of yesterday, 25% of eligible breweries had adopted the new seal, equaling about 1,250 breweries. Those numbers are expected to continue to rise.

So, what exactly is this?

Essentially, think of it like the copyright, recycling, or trademark symbols. It’s designed to be a clear, standardized visual cue that will allow consumers to quickly identify craft beers while they’re shopping. Eligible breweries can place the seal on both packaging and tap handles. There are around 5,300 independent craft breweries that meet the BA standards for the new icon.

Why the push for a distinguishing label now?

There’s been a great deal of concern in the independent brewing community over the fact that so many small craft breweries are being bought by major brewing conglomerates like AB InBev. This acquisition tactic appears to be a cornerstone of InBev’s strategy to combat the growing market share of the craft beer industry. InBev currently holds around 28% market share globally.

InBev, which most people associate with global brands including Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois, has slowly been acquiring smaller brands that consumers often assume are still craft beers. Examples include Breckenridge Brewery and Houston’s Karbach Brewing Company, both of which were acquired in 2016.

BA hopes that the new label will provide a visual reminder of the fight to maintain the integrity of the craft beer community and will make it easier for craft beer lovers to support genuinely independent breweries.

The goal is when you see the seal, you will know what you are getting.

We’ll be interested to see if this continues to gain traction – keep an eye on our blog for updates.

SOURCE: GoMN, Brewer’s Association.