After Adding the ‘Independent Craft’ Seal, What’s Next?

Many craft breweries now have a seal to stand behind. As of the time of writing this piece, more than 800 breweries indicated that they would use the new “Independent Craft” seal on packaged products or in other ways.

Now, it’s getting the general public to understand what this is all about.

“I think many will, but I think most will not,” said Melanie Oxley, the co-owner of Maui Brewing. “I do think that marketing campaigns with be critical, and off-premise education to store staff will be critical so they are able to answer questions from buyers.”

No seal or certification is a silver bullet, added Doug Dayhoff of Indiana’s Upland Brewing, but it’s a great shortcut for consumer education.

“Consumers’ familiarity with organic and GMO-free certifications will certainly help with comprehension,” he said. “We have already begun designing it into reprints of our packaging materials and brewpub menus.”

California’s Modern Times directed Brewer Magazine to a statement released on social media indicting they are excited to use the branding item on packaging.

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“As the mega brewers gobble up more and more craft breweries while trying to deceptively pass them off as independent and local, steps like this become necessary,” the statement read.

For some, although they appreciate the effort being put forth, it will be an “involved process” to get the seal on packaging.

“We will incorporate it into our marketing material immediately,” said Mark Breske of Idaho’s Sockeye Brewing, “and [we] would like to add it to pour packaging, but that is a more involved process.”

The process most likely means slight re-designs to packaging, ordering that packaging and using up the current packaging that is on hand before delving into the new package with the seal.

When asked if he feels the average consumer will understand this designation, Breske said, “eventually,” but only with proper marketing and support from all of the independent craft brew community.

Oxley added that most drinkers of what has been coined “craft” pay premiums for supporting local and independent companies — not just in the craft beer industry.

“Arming packaging with this information is a simply way to disseminate this fact,” she said. “This will definitely help the consumer who cares, but doesn’t have the time to read up on business articles for the brewing industry.”

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