In the Craft Beer World, a Pecking Order Emerges

Not all suds claiming the “craft beer” label are created equal. While all beer makers say that quality and taste are what matter most, beer lovers consider many other factors—size of the brewer, corporate ownership, circumstances under which the beer was made—when evaluating brews. Which beers are considered to be the height of pure unadulterated craft production, and which do beer geeks consider barely a step up from Bud?

Over the course of covering the rapidly expanding craft beer world, it’s become clear that the field hasn’t merely grown more crowded, but far more complicated as well. For many, one of the big attractions to craft beer is that it’s created by brewmasters who are passionate first and foremost about beer, not profits or business plans. Yet over the years, as the number of players have doubled and doubled again, the craft scene has undeniably become big business.

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