Crafting the message of independence

From one of the biggest names in craft going all in on the promoting independence to the announcement of a new national campaign, it’s been a huge week for craft beer’s image.

Last week, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery announced major design changes to one of their flagship beers – 60 Minute IPA. Brewery founder and longtime supporter of independent craft beer, Sam Calagione, decided to display the Brewers Association’s (BA) independent craft brewer seal prominently on the packaging.

Today, the BA announced an extension of the seal to be used by “supporters” of craft beer: retailers, distributors, state guilds, homebrew shops, festivals and other non-brewery industry members.

Along with the announcement, the BA also launched a new website featuring information about using the seal, stats about the seal’s effectiveness in the marketplace, and a tool to quickly search if a specific brewery is a recognized craft brewery.

In a little over a year, more than 4,000 breweries, more than 85% of the craft segment, have adopted the independent seal. It was launched in June 2017 to help consumers differentiate beer that met the BA’s definition of craft from other brands owned by Big Beer masquerading as craft. Less than a year after that, a second campaign was kicked off, That’s Independence You’re Tasting, featuring 30-second spots that aired on national television advocating for transparency into what’s craft and what’s crap.

“Ultimately the freedom of choice is in the consumer’s hand,” Calagione said. “And we believe the consumer should be armed with the facts before they make that choice. Once they have the facts and know which beers come from indie American craft breweries and which ones don’t, then the choice is all theirs.”

Putting everything out on the table is important to the consumer. There’s no benefit to hiding where their beer is coming from. This seal helps those who aren’t yet in tune with craft beer. It informs them so they can make their own decisions. It signals a unity among craft brewers. And now, it can signal the unity among the entire industry.

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