With many craft beer brands owned by large brewing corporations, it’s not always easy to tell which ones are independent.
That is about to change when the Canadian Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) launches a new seal during an industry conference in Vancouver.
The independent craft seal will appear on cans and bottles, signifying that the beer was produced by someone who is not part of the conglomerates collectively known as Big Beer.
“It allows the consumers to support local wherever they go,” CCBA founding member Ken Beattie told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. Beattie is also the executive director of the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild (BCCBG), which is hosting a craft brewers’ conference where the seal will be launched.
The B.C. Craft Brewers Conference is happening on October 17 and 18 at the Harbour Convention Centre (760 Pacific Boulevard).
“A lot of the foreign-owned domestic breweries buy local breweries, and people don’t know that,” Beattie said.
The CCBA was established in May this year. The organization represents more than 700 independent craft breweries across the country.
Hops are an essential ingredient of beer, and a symbol of the plant’s bud is incorporated in the CCBA seal. On its website, the association explains that the seal signifies quality, taste innovation, community-building, independence, and pride and passion.
According to the group, craft breweries are generally small operations and are not controlled by large companies.
In B.C., membership in the guild is limited to brewers who produce less than 200,000 hectolitres per year. A hectolitre is equivalent to 100 litres. The B.C. association has 165 members.
Beattie noted that independent brewers are valued because they create jobs in their communities. In addition, the wealth they create stays in the community, unlike with those that are owned by big beer corporations.
Brewers in good standing in provincial associations like Beattie’s BCCBG will be able to use the CCBA independent craft seal.
The 2019 B.C. craft brewers’ conference is expected to draw more than 600 participants from across North America.
One of the keynote speakers at the event is Steve Beauchesne, who cofounded Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. with his father, Tim, in 2006. The Ontario brewing company is owned by employees through an employee share ownership program.
Dubbed the B.C. Beer Con, the conference is a highlight of this year’s October celebration of craft-beer month in the province.
B.C. Craft Beer Month offers plenty of opportunities for people to experience the appeal of craft brews, which is taste.
Visit the B.C. Craft Beer Month website to see a list of events taking place this month.