Do you Seek the Seal?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Todd, Sep 16, 2021.


Do you look for the Independent Craft Brewer Seal when buying beer?

Poll closed Oct 16, 2021.
  1. Yes

    88 vote(s)
  2. No

    292 vote(s)
  3. Never heard of it

    46 vote(s)
  1. officerbill

    officerbill Savant (968) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader


    Learn to code?

    Wasn't aware of that. I thought BA membership automatically allowed use of the logo. Are there different levels of membership?
    BigIronH, PapaGoose03 and MNAle like this.
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,565) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yes there are but as regards which breweries are permitted to use the logo they must meet:

    “What Defines a Craft Brewer?

    The Brewers Association defines an American craft brewer as a small and independent brewer.

    Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships.

    Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member which is not itself a craft brewer.

    Brewer: Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.”

    So, for example Anchor Brewing is a member of the Brewers Association but is not permitted to use the logo since are not compliant to the above conditions.

    The fact that there is no logo on an Anchor Brewing beer will not stop me from buying it.

    Rug, PapaGoose03 and officerbill like this.
  3. TheGreyBrewer

    TheGreyBrewer Initiate (108) Mar 19, 2006 Colorado

    While I eschew macros, and do everything I can to support local craft breweries over national brands, regardless of the ownership status of the latter, I don't necessarily "seek the seal" because like other food labels (I'm looking at you, "USDA Organic"), it often doesn't really mean what you think it means. I wouldn't find it hard to believe that beers with the seal are, on average, higher quality than those without, but it's no guarantee. Labels can keep us from thinking critically, turning buying products into mindless cheerleading. Cheer for craft beer, but think for yourself when it comes to which parts of the industry you support.
    rgordon and PapaGoose03 like this.
  4. officerbill

    officerbill Savant (968) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    Gotcha, I thought those were the requirements to join the BA and didn't know they had members that didn't fit their definition of “craft”.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  5. bauers

    bauers Disciple (399) Feb 6, 2011 California
    Society Trader

    I buy more beer direct from breweries than I do at stores, so no need to seek a seal for those. When I do go to a store, I'm shopping (a) brands, and (b) styles (i.e., a Moonraker DIPA). And given what brands I'm looking for, I don't need to check for the seal.
  6. HoppyDude421

    HoppyDude421 Disciple (351) May 16, 2012 California

    Yep, I only buy/drink indie, and get a lot of my beers thru Tavour. Otherwise it's local craft bottle shops.
  7. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,065) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Point taken, good thing I have fellow bas like yourself willing to support these companies who continue to promote unequal and biased payscales, consolidation of monies, and unethical business practices. It affords me the opportunity to not be guilted into supporting companies who practice wage inequality by people making the argument "what about the workers?".
    rgordon and Rug like this.
  8. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,381) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    rgordon, ChicagoJ and officerbill like this.
  9. emdub

    emdub Initiate (67) Aug 22, 2010 New York

    I don’t specifically seek it out, but I’m always pleased to see it.
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,565) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The Brewers Association is happy to accept money from breweries like Anchor and even Anheuser-Busch (each brewery pays their individual dues) and then they implement things to exclude them. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    PapaGoose03 and officerbill like this.
  11. gueuzegeek

    gueuzegeek Disciple (308) Aug 11, 2003 New Jersey

    I definitely prefer to support independent brewers! I feel I am pretty savvy to the ones that are owned by the big guys, but occasionally, If the only tasty thing on is not independent, I have gone astray. It is far less often now, as more and more places do feature independent craft brewers.
  12. JamFuel

    JamFuel Poo-Bah (8,114) Mar 26, 2009 Sweden
    Moderator Society

    No, I try keeping tabs on what breweries are NOT independent instead. Easier to keep track of!
    Jaycase and Rug like this.
  13. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,081) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Obviously those bigger breweries are getting some value from their membership (my guess is a mix of market data, industry networking, and the ability to help direct lobbying efforts). The BA isn't forcing anyone to join them. The seal in question is a targeted marketing program relevant to a subset of BA members, it isn't the only service they offer.

    Like others, I don't actively seek out the seal because I'm an overly informed consumer in this sector so I'm usually already looking for something somewhat specific when I shop. When I'm out of my home market though, and looking at shelves full of beer from brewers I'm not familiar with, I do notice the seal. It isn't a make or break factor in my purchases but it certainly doesn't diminish the beer that sports it in my mind.

    Where I do somewhat actively seek it out is in the windows of establishments if I'm away from home. Its not super common, but my experience is that a bar or store that sports it in their window is a reliable source of good beer.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  14. Agee66

    Agee66 Initiate (15) Apr 14, 2021 Florida

    I don’t look for the seal on any of the beers I drink. Treehouse is my beer of choice and they don’t have this seal on their products
    officerbill likes this.
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,565) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Or perhaps those breweries are following the advice of Sun Zhu:

    “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”

  16. 40ontarget

    40ontarget Defender (631) Feb 7, 2012 Colorado

    I always look for the seal both on the can/bottle and at the breweries as well (it is usually displayed on the front door or front window). With that being said it is not a qualifying reason of why I buy or visit though. I do look for it anyway.
  17. woemad

    woemad Poo-Bah (4,251) Jun 8, 2003 Washington
    Society Trader

    I do not seek it out but well over 90% of what I drink fits the criteria for it, so I'm not worried.
    ZebulonXZogg likes this.
  18. SLeffler27

    SLeffler27 Poo-Bah (2,895) Feb 24, 2008 New York
    Society Trader

    Curse you for planting that earworm! Even if, “ says we're able to make it in the U.S.A” :angry::stuck_out_tongue:
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  19. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,958) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Not quite. I didn't say I didn't buy Big Beer™, just AB InBev. It's a pain in the ass trying to keep track of whom and what they own. A seal (maybe the Budweiser bow tie, or whatever the hell they call it) would make things a whole lot easier.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  20. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,065) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    So your argument is to support corrupt companies to ensure good people are taken advantage of from what I'm reading. I can't support that, wouldn't need a union to support the workers if the brewery owner supported their staff in a way that was fair an equitable. All the emojis in the world can't change that.
    PapaGoose03 and BBThunderbolt like this.
  21. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,065) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    At least you know if the beer you buy has this seal it can not be owned by inbev. And there are quite a few large operations that still qualify for this seal.
    dcotom likes this.
  22. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,247) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Society Trader

    Both Deschutes and 10 Barrel are local breweries to me. Whichever brewery I choose, it’s my neighbors who are the Brewers, bartenders, and servers.

    I have my own complex algorithm for which beers are “good”; the absence or presence of the seal is not a factor.
  23. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,489) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Really? AB's got breweries in the Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands?
  24. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,381) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

  25. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Zealot (523) Aug 24, 2020 California

    I have seen it and it makes zero difference in my buying. Quality > business affiliation or size. I have read gobs of posts by people who are offended by some aspect or another of a brewer, whether it be their marketing methods or their size or their range of beer styles. Yawn...It can be tiresome. I buy what I like to drink.
    officerbill and thegodfather2701 like this.
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,565) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It is a catchy tune!

    SLeffler27 likes this.
  27. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (3,006) Dec 1, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    boom, that’s it.

    What the F am I gonna do with a shitty beer with an independent craft brewer seal on it? I prefer to support legit independent breweries but I REALLY prefer to buy and consume good beer.
  28. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,065) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    I think its cute everyone assume independent brewers make bad beer... I mean I HAVE had most of the overhyped east coast and Midwest beers and agree there's better out there, but I promise you guys you have better options than wicked weed or goose island fellas...
    BBThunderbolt and Rug like this.
  29. thegodfather2701

    thegodfather2701 Crusader (777) Nov 3, 2005 North Carolina

    When I got into craft beer in 2005/2006 it was about making a product that was bold and in your face (beer tastes like beer- hops, malt and water). Beers free of adjuncts were celebrated. Now independent brewers use corn, rice, and other adjuncts in their beers all the time. We’d never accept that 15+ years ago regardless of an independent label on the bottle. I personally think it’s BS to distinguish between independent and macro when independent has embraced adjuncts to expand their market share by making beer that appeals to a wider audience because it doesn’t taste like beer- desert stouts, hazy and milkshake ipas. Let’s just be honest, it’s not about craft or an artisanal product, it’s about making profit because if any brewery isn’t making a profit they cease to exist. I understand why people hate macro breweries because they use their pull to dominate consumer space, but that’s capitalism. I’m a liberal person myself but I also want the company that employs me to dominate our market within the bounds of the law. I used to be a beer snob but since craft or independent breweries embraced adjuncts I realized it’s all about making money so I drink whatever I’m in the mood to drink at that moment.
    40ontarget likes this.
  30. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,247) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Society Trader

    I’m campaigning for aroma hop rhizomes in the seed vault.
  31. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,565) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    If the BA is promoting buying beers from breweries that display the logo, essentially they are pitting members against members, not just macro breweries. Larry Bell must be saying, "Whaaaaat!?"
  32. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,489) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Contrary to some other posts above, it is not necessary to be a member of The Brewers Association, only to meet their "Craft Brewer" definition.
    Seal art is free. Brewers Association membership is not required.

    Bell uses the seal on at least some of their beers. Here's the 'snip' from the first one I checked, Side Yard Ale from 2018:

    Obviously, labels are printed far in advance and bought it quantity for flagship beers, so the seal probably wasn't immediately on all a brewer's beers. And I imagine some brewers chose to not change the existing art for some beers when new labels were printed. Although, the B.A. does not that *Packaging breweries: No COLA changes required with a pop-up explanation from the TTB.
  33. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Poo-Bah (1,832) Oct 17, 2012 Texas
    Society Trader

    I don't actively look for 'the seal.' That said, the primary reason for that is that I'm generally aware of whether or not a brewery I'm supporting is or is not independent.

    So, while I don't actively look for the seal itself, I support the spirit and intent of it. i.e. supporting independent craft beer.
    40ontarget and SFACRKnight like this.
  34. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,270) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Nurture the known, but carefully. DG circa 9/17 2021 @ 11:20 AM. Or thereabouts..
  35. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (668) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I already know what I'm buying, including ownership, so I don't need to look for the seal.
    dcotom likes this.
  36. WormGod

    WormGod Aspirant (233) Jun 30, 2016 New York

    I don't seek it out, but I am happy when I do see it.
  37. damzz

    damzz Initiate (63) Mar 30, 2008 Massachusetts

    Second sentence sums up the craft beer industry. Size and ownership have absolutely nothing to do with the quality.
    ChicagoJ and russpowell like this.
  38. damzz

    damzz Initiate (63) Mar 30, 2008 Massachusetts

    I do notice the seal but it does not influence my choices because it pertains to ownership and volume and craft brewers are easy to identify. Ownership and volume have nothing to do with quality. The association is a trade organization representing it members' interests and provide employment for its administrators. This explains its poor standards. Beer is not a major purchase. So, judging by tasting a product is far easier than buying a car, boat, plane, computer, appliance, etc. If the beer does not meet one's standard regardless of who made it, don't buy it again. Not much investment is lost. Tasting a beer you determine you do not like is educating. I don't care if the beer I like is from a "craft brewer" or not.
    Brutaltruth and BillAfromSoCal like this.
  39. woodchipper

    woodchipper Poo-Bah (1,519) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    Do I buy/consume based on it? No. Taste and curiosity rule my choices. However if the seal is present it makes me feel better about the beer (a little bit).
  40. Brutaltruth

    Brutaltruth Poo-Bah (4,120) Mar 22, 2014 Ohio

    Hate to say it but I buy within my tastes...if you make great stouts I
    buy you regardless of a seal. That said I have seen it and was not
    aware of what it really meant. Thanks for the update!

    ChicagoJ likes this.