A Message From the CEO
Fighting For You
Protecting & Promoting Breweries
Federal Government Affairs
In the fight for fair treatment for craft brewers, the Brewers Association submitted comments to the Department of the Treasury on a variety of subjects, including the continued problem of illegal trade practices (e.g., slotting fees and pay-to-play schemes), wholesaler consolidation, unfair state franchise laws, and restrictions on direct-to-consumer sales.
In February, the U.S. Treasury, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, released its report on competition in the beer, wine, and spirits industries. The Brewers Association applauded the report’s recognition of laws that “inhibited the growth and competitiveness of craft producers,” and recommended the department re-examine regulations in order to battle slotting fees and other “discriminatory conduct” within the industry. The Brewers Association also welcomed the report’s recognition that franchise laws and other state alcohol laws could have anti-competitive effects.
In the courts, the association joined an industry coalition in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging that the Court examine and reverse a decision that could substantially weaken industry trademark protections. The Court agreed to take the case and the Brewers Association participated in filing an amicus brief on the merits.
The Brewers Association continued to push for passage of the United States Postal Service (USPS) Shipping Equity Act (H.R.3287/S.1663), bipartisan legislation that would give the USPS the same ability as private carriers to ship alcohol in states where it is legal to do so. This legislation is beneficial to breweries, consumers, and the postal service.
In June, 132 brewery owners, employees, and state guild executive directors from across the country attended in-person and virtual meetings with their members of Congress for the Brewers Association’s 2022 hill climb. Participants raised issues impacting small and independent breweries, notably the industry’s support for the USPS Shipping Equity Act, appropriations requests for the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and hop and barley research.
Members of Congress and their staff learned firsthand about how breweries in their states were impacted by COVID-19 and how programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act helped them through the previous two years.
Protecting & Promoting Breweries
State Government Affairs
State Government Affairs Priorities
2022 marked the start of the Brewers Association’s multi-year focus to pursue more state-law policy changes in collaboration with guilds. As part of that effort, the government affairs team was expanded to support important state government affairs priorities including:
- Reforming franchise laws to restore balance and fairness to craft brewer-wholesaler relationships. In addition to legislative efforts, the Brewers Association has joined two amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs advocating for favorable interpretations of state franchise laws.
- Restoring or expanding the ability of craft brewers to self-distribute their beers.
- Allowing consumers to purchase and receive beer delivered to their homes from breweries throughout the United States.
- Opposing liquor tax cuts and privatization efforts that erase the traditional differentiation between beer and liquor.
- Opposing efforts to increase excise taxes on our products.
A robust state government affairs program calls for robust state organizations, and the Brewers Association continued to invest in supporting state guilds in 2022. In addition to regular calls and meetings with guild leaders, a Guilds Summit gathered guild leaders from around the country for several days of learning, sharing, and networking. The Brewers Association’s collaboration with state guilds is informed by the work of its Guilds Subcommittee, which consists of select guild leaders and senior BA staff.
Supporting Business Health
Technical & Quality Resources
The Brewers Association’s Technical team, in collaboration with the Technical Committee and its subcommittees, produced more than three dozen new resources to help breweries improve the quality, sustainability, and safety of their brewing operations, while also addressing ongoing supply chain challenges.
Brewing Resources in 2022
- Caustic Line Cleaners: Chemical Application, Effectiveness, and Safety
- Dry Hopping Hazards and Control Strategies
- Contract Brewing: Production Best Practices
- Second Edition of Draught Beer Quality for Retailers Manual
- Supply Chain Updates – January, March, July, Year-End
- How to Manage Off Flavors in Beer: Phenolic, Butyric Acid, Diacetyl, Acetic Acid
- Non-Alcohol Beer: A Review and Key Considerations
- Navigating CO2 Supply Shortages
- Yeast 4: Microscopic Yeast Cell Counting
- Brewery Best Practices in Corporate Philanthropy
Draught Line Safety
In July, the Brewers Association launched the free Draught Line Cleaning Safety for Adjacent Workers course, funded by a Susan Harwood Training Grant through the Department of Labor and Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA). While previous courses funded by this grant were developed for workers responsible for performing line cleaning operations, this training is tailored for front-of-house and draught beer service staff.
Through its annual Hopsource hop-evaluation event, the Brewers Association furthered its commitment to public hop research. The fifth annual Hopsource, in Yakima, gauged brewer interest in upcoming experimental public hop varieties. By bridging the gap between brewers and researchers, brewers can have an impact on new public hop varieties available to the industry.
Sustainability Resources in 2022
- Waste Not, Want Not: A Guide to Zero Waste Beer Events
- Landscaping for the Future
- Sustainability through the Supply Chain: Three Questions to Ask Suppliers
- The Climate Is Right to Assess Brewery Natural Gas Efficiencies
Safety Resources in 2022
Supporting Business Health
Industry education is a core value and key area of investment for the Brewers Association. Throughout the year, staff, ambassadors, and committee members produced actionable, timely, and relevant resources—from one pagers to online courses—that help breweries streamline operations, bolster safety and sustainability efforts, and increase overall profitability.
Human resources (HR) are vital to the success of breweries of all sizes. Recognizing that many craft brewers do not have dedicated HR staff, the Brewers Association created a new HR committee to provide its members with the tools needed to develop compliant HR strategies while building and maintaining stronger relationships with the teams they serve, and added a dedicated staff member of its own. In just eight short months, the new HR team and committee have produced resources focusing on recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining your workforce; employee engagement; succession planning; mental health; and company culture.
The Brewers Association hosted 43 new online learning opportunities throughout the year, with members able to view in real time and ask questions, or (re)watch on demand. Industry experts delivered on topics such as brewing water adjustment, craft beer consumer data and insights, creative approaches to brewery maintenance, and draught line cleaning techniques.
The New Brewer®
The New Brewer, the association’s flagship publication and popular brewhouse companion, reached a dedicated readership of 39,000 in 2022 (in 60 countries). The magazine explored issues of import for the brewing community including supply chain challenges, operational efficiency, sales and marketing, brewhouse safety, labor shortages, and more.
Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®
More than 10,300 industry professionals from around the world congregated at the 2022 Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in Minneapolis in May. Attendees participated in nine different educational tracks during CBC and visited with 637 exhibitors that took part in BrewExpo America, the premier trade show for craft brewers.
FUN FACT: Meet Minneapolis honored CBC with the “Excellence in Meetings, Events & Conventions Award,” presented to an individual, institution, or organization whose efforts will impact the city for future years.
Building a Diverse & Inclusive Craft Beer Community
Through its Mentorship Program, the Brewers Association continued to provide structured mentoring and advocacy to those looking to enter or advance in the brewing industry. With its fourth cohort now complete, the program has hosted 124 mentees and 102 mentors.
DEI Mini Grants
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mini-Grant Program ended 2022 with 24 total grants awarded for 18 events, four media projects, and two education and training initiatives, totaling over $70,000.
The 2022 Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) saw the successful launch of the THRIVE workshop, an educational experience dedicated to building safe, inclusive, and equitable cultures where everyone in the craft brewing community can thrive. In an intensive day-long preconference, more than 200 attendees explored themes related to human resources; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and wellness.
CBC Travel Grants
To ensure that CBC is accessible for more members of the brewing community, the association launched a new travel grants program to help broaden the pool of CBC speakers and enable small and start-up brewery members to attend the industry’s premier annual conference. Through the program, 25 awardees receive up to $1,500 toward eligible travel expenses.
Promoting Independent Craft Brewers
Breweries, bars, and restaurants continued their long and unsteady recovery in 2022, while total on-premise sales bounced back to their previous trends. The Brewers Association helped accelerate this recovery through a mix of promotional campaigns and in-person events.
American Craft Beer Week®
American Craft Beer Week®, the annual springtime salute to small and independent craft breweries, took place May 16-22 with a rallying cry to “Turn your beer world upside down.” This call to action was a nod to the freewheeling spirit that craft breweries are known for.
SAVOR™: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
The nation’s premier food and beer pairing event returned to Washington, D.C. in June to showcase the versatility of American craft beer. More than 100 small and independent craft breweries poured iconic and innovative beers, each thoughtfully paired with a small plate to tickle the palates of more than 2,500 attendees.
The Great American Beer Festival®
After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, more than 40,000 beer lovers gathered to celebrate 40 years of the nation’s largest ticketed beer festival. The 2022 edition highlighted 500 breweries from 46 states plus Washington, D.C. with more than 2,000 different beers poured at the festival. Three hundred medals were awarded at one of the largest Great American Beer Festival competitions to date.
This Is Indie Beer
Indie beer continues to have a seismic impact on American culture. To recognize this outsize influence, the Brewers Association launched “This Is Indie Beer,” a multi-pronged campaign to drive consumer awareness of the Independent Craft Brewer Seal while giving breweries the tools to proudly promote their independence and drive sales.
Growing American Craft Globally
The Brewers Association’s Export Development Program (EDP) continued to spur demand and grow awareness for U.S. craft brewers in key international markets. The EDP’s 2022 calendar was the largest since the program’s inception with activities across Europe, Asia, and North America.
International beer competitions again served as a key mechanism to raise awareness. The EDP aided U.S. brewery participation in five competitions by covering entry fees, cold storage, customs, and shipping. Across these events, American craft brewers won 49 gold, 72 silver, and 67 bronze medals.
2022 also saw a post-pandemic return to EDP-funded trade show and festival pavilions in key markets. American craft beer trade missions to events in France, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom enabled U.S. brewers to forge buyer relationships, collect market intelligence, collaborate with international brewers, and present their beers alongside international cuisine. Elsewhere, the EDP showcased American craft beer in Sweden, Italy, Germany, Korea, and China.
On the publicity front, in Europe the EDP generated more than 100 articles about American craft beer, with an estimated readership of 10.9 million., while in Japan, social media channels secured over 1,000,000 impressions.
The EDP Member Resources page continues to provide exclusive access to invaluable resources, including an importer directory, market research studies, presentations on international markets, FAQs on exporting beer, and more.
Brewers Publications supports the mission of the Brewers Association by publishing books of enduring value for amateur and professional brewers. In 2022, Brewers Publications released three books, bringing its total number of titles to 66, with 59 available in paperback and eBook, and one audiobook.
Told through wit and humor, Hooray for Craft Beer! An Illustrated Guide to Beer is an entertaining and informative journey through the history and world of craft beer. Author Em Sauter has written a simple, easy-to-read guide featuring delightful illustrations. Yes, craft beer can be whimsical as well as tasty!
The second book in the series, Brewing with Hemp: The Essential Guide, explores the Cannabis sativa plant from a brewer’s perspective, focusing on hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC. Author Ross Koenigs explores the theory behind and techniques for infusing hemp flavor and cannabinoids into beer.
Gluten-Free Brewing: Techniques, Processes, and Ingredients for Crafting Flavorful Beer provides instructions on how to make delicious beers with gluten-free grains and a variety of ingredients. Author Robert Keifer addresses the wildly flavorful gluten-free ingredients available today, ingredient sources, the malting process, fermentation challenges, and more.
American Homebrewers Association
Making Life More Delicious
In 2022, the American Homebrewers Association and Executive Director Julia Herz demonstrated how “homebrewing makes life more delicious” through new how-to videos and one-gallon recipes for beginners.
More than a magazine, Zymurgy has been a trusted brewing companion and THE resource for all things homebrewing since 1979. More than 45,000 readers once again enjoyed six issues of beer style insights, the latest beer news and recipes from around the world, gadgets, jokes, and much more.
National Homebrew Competition
On June 25, the National Homebrew Competition awarded 132 medals in 44 beer, mead, and cider categories to amateur brewers at an awards ceremony during Homebrew Con. During the ceremony, individuals and businesses were also recognized for their outstanding contributions to the homebrewing community.
From June 23-25, the 44th annual Homebrew Con™ returned to an in-person conference in Pittsburgh where more than 1,300 homebrewers and fermentation hobbyists attended educational sessions and social events. Highlights included a mini craft beer festival and Club Night, featuring 45 U.S. homebrew clubs with elaborate booths and creative brews.
A Passionate Voice for Craft Brewers
The Brewers Association is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization of brewers, for brewers, and by brewers. Our purpose is to promote and protect America’s small and independent craft brewers, their beers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts.