In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a war going on in the beer industry. The volume of overall beer sales, driven by the major brewers such as AB-Inbev and SABMiller, are going down year after year. At the same time, the volume of “craft beer” sold is growing exponentially. Thus, the major brewers are trying get a piece of that action. And by “a piece” I mean the whole thing.
The big guys have two basic tactics for getting into the craft beer game: (1) make beers that seem like craft beers and don’t mention the parent company on the label, or (2) just buy up as many craft breweries as possible. The result of both approaches is the same: there are a lot of beers being marketed as craft beers that are not actually craft beers, and a lot of consumers are being fooled.
Are the “fake craft beers” bad? No, not necessarily. Some are decent, others excellent. However, since the market for any product is more consumer-friendly when there is competition, it’s kind of unfortunate that the giant international beer conglomerates are trying to fill the marketplace with knockoffs.
So today we present you with this handy primer—a list of 12 beers that might seem like craft beers, but are not. And unlike the trade group “Brewers Association,” we’re not going to be judgmental about quality and ingredients. We’re basing our craft-not craft distinction solely on ownership. So, if a beer is owned by one of the giants, economically speaking, it’s not a craft beer. (Even if it is delicious.)