Aug 30, 2017

Making a Statement with the Brewers Association Independent Craft Brewer Seal

Craft beer. These two words conjure big feelings and refined flavors. The spirit of this independent and rapidly growing industry is now tangible—in the form of a craft beer seal that helps consumers differentiate macro from microbrewery products.

Want more info on the independent craft brewer seal’s origin and how craft brewers can use it to compete with macro breweries in the cooler? Keep reading.

What is the seal?

Craft brewing is a booming business—in fact, craft beer volume has grown by double-digit percentages over the last few years. In 2016, there were an impressive 5,234 craft breweries operating in the US.craft-beer-packaging-and-brewers-association-seal-2.png
With this kind of growth, you might assume that the craft brewing business is cut-throat and deeply competitive, but it’s the opposite. It’s an industry of camaraderie and shared passion for the art of brewing.
Craft brewers are bonded amongst themselves, but how can they compete with macro breweries and stand out in stores? The answer came this summer, in the form of the Brewers Association Certified Independent Craft beer seal. It’s a statement stamp that craft brews can wear proudly. It’s a seal that differentiates craft breweries from large operations. 

Why is this relevant to craft brewers?

As Beer Advocate describes, the seal’s upside-down beer bottle imagery “captures the spirit with which craft brewers have upended beer.” Independence is perhaps the most beloved characteristic of the industry (apart from delicious brews), and the seal communicates that passion directly to the consumer.
If numbers are your thing, a recent study from Brewbound and Nielsen found that “independent” and “independently owned” descriptors strongly resonate with 81 percent of craft beer drinkers. Thus, the seal not only demonstrates your mission of independence and your bond with your craft brewery brethren—it also has the ability to move more product into the hands of craft connoisseurs.

Who is the seal available to?

The seal is available to any brewer that meets the following criteria. Brewers must:

  1. Possess a valid Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Brewer’s Notice.
  2. Meet the BA’s craft brewer definition.
  3. Sign a licensing agreement.

The above “craft brewer definition,” is, in summary: a small brewer that innovates by interpreting historic styles and adding unique twists, using traditional ingredients, with community-focused and individualistic approaches. Does that describe you? If so, get your very own seal artwork here.

How can brewers best use the seal?

Since it’s a statement piece, the best way to use the seal is to put it front and center. Make the seal prominent on your bottle labels, packaging, and signage, consider assembling premium gift sets that feature the seal. We’re picturing a range of bottled microbrews, branded glassware, openers, a luxe ice bucket, and complementary snacks.
Once those pieces are updated, the seal can be used in corresponding POS/POP displays. Options for brewers, restauranteurs, and retailers include:

  • Low-cost, easy-to-assemble pole-topper signs
  • Cooler stickers with brand messaging
  • Table tents for restaurants and bars
  • In-store shelf hutches

Seal up shelf success with help from Menasha Packaging

Like you, we’re passionate about beer. We’re a member of the Brewers Association, and we’re also independently owned and have deep roots in our community.
Get in touch with us to learn how our skills in packaging and merchandising solutions, coupled with the power of the independent craft brewer seal, can help your beers pop off the shelves and into the steins of your target customers.
If you need more convincing that we’re the right partner for your craft brewery, get our take on earning (and keeping) a spot in the craft beer cooler on our blog.