More Breweries React to Craft Seal Implementation

A few weeks back, right after the announcement of the “Independent Craft Seal” was announced, we ran a piece about what is next for the craft beer industry.

In my previous life before becoming the editor of Brewer, I was a sports writer. Sometimes in covering an event, I would compile so many quotes and didn’t get to use all of them, so I would use them at a later time in what is usually called a “Notebook piece.”

We had some more reactions roll in from the announcement of the seal and I didn’t want their voices to go unheard.

Thanks for Matt Cutter, the founder of Upslope, and Melody Crisp, the Marketing Director at Coronado, for their input with this following Q&A session.


BREWER: What is your reaction to the seal?

CUTTER: I love it. Let the people know who they are supporting with their craft beer dollars.

CRISP: We are very excited about the new Brewers Association seal. We know that consumers value independent and local craft breweries, and this new seal is a way for our craft beer community to create a powerful visual tool to communicate with consumers. We also believe in the power of numbers, so the more breweries that adopt this seal, the better. We want consumers to know where their dollars go, and who their purchase supports, and this seal helps with that education.

BREWER: Does your brewery plan to use it? In what ways?

CUTTER: It’s kind of funny. We had a meeting a few weeks back to discuss if we would use it or not, and the meeting basically collectively started, ‘So, how can we put this seal on everything we have and how soon can we do it?.’ We will be using it on our posters, social media, website, 12-packs, 6-pack trays, tap rooms and likely on our cans. The cans are not 100 percent at this moment because we are looking into the right location on the can and the cost associated with implementing. We plan to lead with the seal, rather than wait for momentum.

CRISP: Yes! We are very excited to use this seal. We will begin to use the seal on our six-pack carriers once we deplete current packaging inventory.

BREWER: Why is something like this important and needed?

CUTTER: Passion, independence and a connection to the community are the pillars in which craft brewers were founded. Craft beer emerged as a reaction to what had been happening with American beer for decades. No corporate ties, no rules of the road. In step with the craft beer pioneers that paved the way, the independents emerged. Then came the buyouts, the craft vs. crafty, and the ‘me too’s.’ The non-independents easily blend in with the rest. Why is it important to know? It’s important because the beer-loving public has chosen the independents, (a trait that was recently deemed in a study by the Brewers Association as important to 81 percent of the craft beer drinking public when making a purchase decision about craft beer), and the public should not be duped when it comes to supporting their ‘independent’ brewery.

CRISP: This seal is important because it creates a singular visual identity for communicating to consumers what is real craft beer, and what isn’t. By having this seal on our packaging, we are identifying ourselves as a Brewers Association-identified independent craft brewery. We know that consumers want to support independent breweries, and this seal is a way for them to easily identify independent breweries on the shelf, and aid in their purchasing decisions.

BREWER: Do you feel the average consumer of beer will understand this designation?

CUTTER: The answer is: it depends. If the Brewers Association is successful in rolling this out and it becomes widespread throughout our industry, the consumers will notice, investigate what it means and will understand. As mentioned above with the BA study, if they understand, they will care.

CRISP: It will take time for the average consumer to understand this designation, but a rising tide [raises] all boats. If more and more independent craft breweries start to adopt this seal, we will hit a tipping point where consumers know to seek out this designation. It’s also exciting that we can start to promote this idea of ‘what is independent’ through other channels, including social media, website, email and POS materials. Research also shows that consumers want to buy independent craft beer, but don’t always know how to identify such breweries, so this seal helps make that a little easier.

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