Out of all the buzzwords in the beer world, the different names for different types breweries are among the
most bewildering. So let's clarify what makes a brewery a micro or a mega, once and for all.
From microbrewery to macrobrewery--and everything in between--there's a need to define exactly what is meant by those
terms. Consumers deserve the clarification and breweries depend on these labels. One of the beer industry's most
respected bodies, the Brewer's Association (BA), has made it their mission to tell the consumer exactly what it is
they're drinking so that the innovative spirit and respect for traditions live on. You can decide for yourself which
you prefer, but let's walk through what the BA has decreed.
According to the Brewer's Association (BA) in the USA a microbrewery is defined as a small, independently owned
brewery which produces less than 15,000 barrels (or 17,600 hectolitres) a year. Additionally, about 75% of its beer
must be sold off-site. The UK definition considers a microbrewery much smaller--about 5,000 hectolitres. Whatever
the quantity, what defines a microbrewery is in the name: it's small.
North Yorkshire's Harrogate Brewing Co. is one of
This is still a relatively fluid term but is still rather self-explanatory. In essence, a farm brewery is one that
uses ingredients from local farms (or grows them themselves) to create a product which is highly influenced by the
local terroir. In the US, for example, New York state has defined a farm brewery as one that uses at least 20% of
its ingredients from farms in the state.
Rogue Ales and Spirits is a great example of a farm-to-glass brewery as they grow much of their own ingredients from
the hops to the grains on site.
Again, as defined the the USA's Brewer's Association, a brewpub is a brewery-restaurant that sells more than 25% of
its beer on site. In fact, most of its beer is brewed with the intention of being sold on site.
Leeds' Northern Monk Brew Co. is listed as a brewpub on the BA
A contract brewing company is a brewery--as its own entity--which hires another brewery to brew its beer. The brewing
company takes care of all the marketing, t-shirts, sales and distribution of the beer that is brewed in another
facility (the recipes are all their own). A contract brewery, by contrast, is the facility which brews the beers for
Sort of a sub-section of contract brewing companies are the mysteriously-named gypsy brewers. These brewers have no
site of their own--nor contract with an individual contract brewery--rather they travel from brewery to brewery,
using the equipment at the brick-and-mortar operation to create their brews.
The most famous gypsy brewer is undoubtedly Mikkeller.
Reserved for those breweries which are considerably larger in production than a microbrewery yet still brew a
majority of traditional or innovative styles, the term regional craft brewery is a nod to those who maintain their
independence from corporate takeovers.
Similar in concept in the UK, Black Sheep Brewery
is a good example.
Defining those breweries which brew between 15,000 and 6,000,000 barrels (yes, that's quite a range!) a regional
brewery can still be considered "craft"--according to the BA--so long as they remain independent and fulfill other
the UK or Left Hand
Brewing in the US are some of the more reknowned regional breweries in the world.
Finally, let's talk about what the BA calls a large brewery. Sadly for them, because these breweries produce over
6,000,000 barrels annually, they're not considered craft breweries anymore. Nevertheless, many of these large
breweries are making fantastic beer while some of them could stand to, well, adjust their recipes.
London's Fuller's is a classic large brewery while Founders Brewing
Co. in the States is big, yet
produces some mighty fine beer.
So there you have it! We hope this clears things up a bit. Whether it's a guy with a bucket (well, that's called a
homebrewer) or a crew with a high-rise corner office beer is still beer, so drink what you like! At least now,
however, you'll know what you're drinking.
We'll see you next week at Beer Hawk University where we'll get into the brewing process and the pieces of kit you'll
see at a brewery. Cheers!
Father’s Day, 19th June 2022, is the special date in the calendar when we celebrate and give a nod to the Dads in our lives. It’s an excuse to spoil them with a little something to say thank you for being awesome. If you’re looking for inspiration for a craft beer-loving Dad, then check out our top 7 Father’s Day beer gifts.
Every year, Beer Hawk releases a lineup of limited edition craft beer mixed cases for the holiday season. This year's lineup of festive Christmas beer gifts is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Remember the childhood excitement of opening a new door on your advent calendar every day in the run up to Christmas? It gave each day a little sparkle of festive magic, even though those tiny chocolates behind the doors were always a bit rubbish. How would you like to recapture that childhood magic, but with bottles of delicious beer instead of powdery chocolate? Sounds amazing, right? In that case, you need to get your hands on our Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
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