What is Craft Beer? A Quick Guide to a Booming Trend

Posted by Beau Farrell on Jun 30, 2016 12:29:09 PM


We couldn’t help but notice a new survey that shows craft beer drinkers are more health conscious than non-craft beer drinkers. The Harris Poll found that craft beer drinkers have more healthy habits, including taking part in a regular exercise regimen. That begs the question: What IS craft beer? Well, for one thing, it’s beer produced by a craft brewer. Here in Minnesota, the demand for craft beer is high, and the choices are plenty.

The American Brewer Association defines a craft brewer as small, independent and traditional. Here are those definitions:

  • Small – Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
  • Independent – With less than 25 percent of the craft brewery owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. 
  • Traditional – A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. 

In Minnesota, there are 105 craft breweries, ranking us #16 in the nation. That’s 2.7 breweries per capita, producing more than 630,000 barrels of craft beer per year – 12th in the nation, and an average of five gallons per 21+ adult.

The question about why craft beers are in such demand has many journalists and beer writers wondering about the same thing. It may be demographics of who is drinking have changed. Is it generational? Is it that more women are turning to craft beer? Can we look to the Millennials who skewed high in The Harris Poll? Whatever the reason for the popularity, there is certainly plenty of availability. According to the Craft Brewers Association, 75% of American adults now live within ten miles of a brewery, and you can always get craft beer by either visiting the beer coolers at any of our Haskell’s locations, or simply shopping for beer online here at


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