Independent beer drinkers who are loyal to craft were stunned on September 15th when Yuengling announced a partnership with Molson Coors. With Molson Coors' help, fans will soon find Yuengling beers in the Midwest and West Coast states for the first time in the brewery’s 191-year history. This will save a lot of folks money on baggage fees, no longer having to smuggle beer across state lines in their suitcases. But, will they even drink Yuengling any more now that the brewery is in cahoots with Coors?
Many fans only drink and support beer made from craft breweries because they believe the movement is about much more than just the liquid.
As the ‘exclusively craft beer’ delivery app Tavour puts it, “When you’re independent, you have to work harder. You have to be scrappy. You have to want it a little more. And all that fight goes right into the beer — that’s just one of the reasons it tastes so damn good.”
For those who follow that mantra, concerns may arise when an adored brewery partners with a Macro corporation.
In this case, Yuengling fans can rest assured that the brewery will remain independent and family-owned after merging. A six-member board of directors evenly split between them and Molson Coors’ family members and execs will run the operation with Yuengling as chairman.
Yuengling brewed 2.65 million barrels of beer in 2019 and will continue to limit their production below the 6 million mark to keep their official craft brewery status.
To put that number into perspective, a microbrewery produces less than 15,000 barrels a year. So, many beer geeks feel like supporting ‘craft breweries’ isn’t enough. According to The Brewers Association, 85 percent of drinking-age Americans now live within 10 miles of a brewery. And, it’s these local, little guys down the street who often need the most support.
Getting a hold of these micro beers outside of your region is a lot easier nowadays, thanks to Tavour. They only feature beers from independent craft breweries, and many of those breweries are unavailable across state lines, except through Tavour. Here's a sampling of what some of the country's premier microbreweries have to say about what "craft" means to them:
New Image Brewing, Arvada, CO: “Without regard to scale, I would argue that ‘craft’ beer is meant to define just about any beer that isn’t brewed in the style of American Adjunct Lager,” head brewer and founder Brandon Capps says. “Seeing as many craft breweries are trying their best still to emulate hundreds of years old European Lager breweries who are brewing millions of barrels, scale cannot necessarily be used to define the end product.”
“To me personally: I think craft beer is all about relatability. It’s the convergence between the identity of the beer and the drinker, at some level.”
Adroit Theory Brewing, Purcellville, VA: “To me, it's about being ‘artisanal’ vs. ‘craft.’ Brewing beers with the highest quality materials available, with the most creative process possible, and on a (reasonably) small scale,” owner Mark Osborne discloses. “Something where the people making the beer everyday have a hands-on approach at all steps in the production process. That is the difference between small ‘craft’ brewers and the larger breweries.”
Weldwerks Brewing, Greeley, CO: Jake Goodman, director of marketing, chops it up as, “At the end of the day, for us, I think it means total independence, and the ability to control one's own destiny.”
Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME: "For me, a big part of being a craft brewery is helping to strengthen the communities that we’re a part of,” states Rob Tod, founder/brewer. “From a sustainability perspective, and also from a being-a-good-neighbor perspective, we think it’s important to make sure that we’re giving back. We think that beyond bringing people together socially, beer should be used as a force for good."
Elder Pine Brewing & Blending, Gaithersburg, MD: “Being a craft brewery is a steadfast commitment to personal integrity, uncompromising quality, and devout loyalty to your consumers,” says George Lin, president and co-founder. “From recipe development to packaging and distribution, it means use of premium ingredients, proper lagering and conditioning, and attention to the smallest details. We will maintain these values as we grow because to serve an inferior product would compromise our identity as a true craft brewery.”
Imagine Nation Brewing, Missoula, MT: “In all things, we believe craft to be synonymous with purpose,” co-founder and head brewer Robert Rivers notes. “If the purpose of beer is to connect humanity and to change the world, then, beer can become a transcendent artform. Ultimately, we believe that the true ‘craft’ of beer is to change the world.”