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The Difference Between a Craft Beer and a Micro Brew Beer


Crafts, cooking, and natural health are a few of the interests I enjoy writing about.

Do you like craft beers or micro brews? Read on to learn the difference.

Do you like craft beers or micro brews? Read on to learn the difference.

Aren't They the Same?

There are commonalities when talking about craft beer and micro-brewed beers, but there are also great differences. The two terms are interchanged often because they are so darn confusing. Let us start with the definitions of a micro-brewery and a craft brewery.

A micro-brewery is classified by the number of beer barrels it produces in a year, which is a limit of 15,000 beer barrels a year or 460,000 US gallons and at least 75 percent of that beer must be sold outside of the brewery. There are no strict guidelines set on the techniques or ingredients a micro-brewery uses to produce their beer. A micro-brewery is classified as such according to the amount of beer it produces annually.

A craft brewery brews no more than 2 million gallons of beer per year and is owned independently. Unlike a micro-brewery, a craft brewery has set limitations on the techniques of their beer production. A craft brewery's beer must contain at least 50 percent traditional malt, rather than adjuncts such as oats, barley and wheat and there lies one distinction. These ingredients add flavor to the beer. Most craft beers are of a European style like ales, stouts and porters. One of the most well known craft brewers is the maker of Samuel Adams; The Boston Brewing Company.

The fad of calling low production breweries craft breweries instead of micro-breweries is just a common error. The terms are used erroneously. The terms that should stand are micro-brewery and macro-brewery to differentiate a brewery based on production amount. Craft beer is a product, and a good one at that, not a measure of size. This misconception also happens because some beer drinkers automatically assume that a micro-brewery uses craft ingredients and this, as we have just shown, is not always true.

Beer on outdoor pub table

Beer on outdoor pub table

Let's Summarize

So, a craft brewery is not always a micro-brewery and a micro-brewery is only a craft brewery if it follows craft brewing standards. Craft beer is beer that is brewed in batches with the finest quality ingredients, and is done on a limited basis or may be a seasonal brew. Many craft breweries take pride in not only the ingredients used to make their beer but also in the equipment used to produce it. Allagash Beer in Portland, Maine had used bourbon soaked wood barrels for the production of a Tripel. After some trial and error they produced some nice results.

If you see the trend now, a lot of people are drinking local and choosing craft beers. The breweries are farming out their ingredients locally. Local ingredients can add to the quality and distinction of a beer. Great Lakes Brewing Company operates on this philosophy. They strive to use environmental practices that achieve a sustainable and profitable business. Great Lakes Brewing Company celebrates all things local when possible. The brewery currently manages two organic farms and has qualified themselves as a craft brewer of distinction.

Now that the differences between a micro-brewed beer and a craft beer have been defined, you are now allowed to kick back and enjoy a favorite beer of your choice.

Why Craft Beer?


Andrea Krause on February 20, 2018:

I was seeking knowledge of actual hops growing, not the differences between micro-brew, macro-brew, or craft beers

Rick on January 25, 2018:

I think one thing they have in common, is that they don't brew with rice.

navneet kumar on May 10, 2016:

techenically i think i understood but what about outlets making their own beers every day and serving by mugs or pitcher are they micro or craft how can we judge if we dont know their annul productions.please advice

Lee Cloak on April 01, 2015:

Very interesting , very informative hub, thanks, Lee

Gary L. Morris from Frankfurt, Germany on December 29, 2014:

I always wondered what the difference was, now I know. HubPages Rules!Thanks Corey!

Travis Hudson from San Diego, Ca on January 13, 2013:

Don't forget the nano-brewer! A microbrewery is generally recognized as any brewery that makes 15,000 barrels (barrel is 31 US gallons) of beer (465,000 gallons) or fewer annually. A nano-brewery would brew no more than 15 barrels (645 gallons) a year, because by definition nano is 1,000 times smaller than micro. Craft breweries a production size of less than 6,000,000 US beer barrels a year and can not be more than 24% owned by another alcoholic beverage company that is not itself a craft brewery. The macro breweries, or Crap Brewers as I like to call them, like InBev and Coors fall into none of the preceding categories, because they mass produce their fizzy yellow "beer".

Corey (author) from Northfield, MA on June 16, 2012:


Magic Hat rocks!

Corey (author) from Northfield, MA on June 16, 2012:


lol and Thanks! Always good to learn something new!

mattdigiulio from Los Angeles on June 15, 2012:

Yum, I definitely prefer small of the VT micro brews (Magic Hat, Rock Art) Great hub.

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 15, 2012:

I feel smarter thank you! I will share this!

Corey (author) from Northfield, MA on March 11, 2012:

Sounds like it is worth the wait. I would have to brew it in the bathroom because my apartment is so small. I have to try it one of these days. Thanks for the advice.

ahorseback on March 11, 2012:

The true brew kit consists of 2 -5 gallon containers one for fermenting , the other for bottling, and the ingredient kits obtained anywhere will yeald about 5 gallons of beer , In general about I/2 the cost of buying a good beer .It takes 2 3 hours of cooking time , &7 days fermenting and about 3-4 weeks to wait ! Its amazing how much better the beer is "fresh". There are a lot of ingredient kits or you can pick your own ingredients The kit ...._$1oo+or-, the ingrediants for five gallons , 25 -35 dollarsand you can really get into more $ if you chosse . Good luck .......hey I'm thirsty!lol. Good luck and have fun.

Corey (author) from Northfield, MA on March 11, 2012:


I have not tried homebrewing, yet! I am eager to try it. Any tips?

Corey (author) from Northfield, MA on March 11, 2012:


I actually did not know all of the complexities when I researched for this article and am glad to have a better understanding of the inner workings. Thanks for sharing.

ahorseback on March 11, 2012:

cabmgmnt, Hi nieghbor , We have been micro- ing out of a couple of buckets and ingrediant kits from True Brew since Christmas , its fun ,its great beer and we are now on our third brewing.By the friends commenting here above I know you must know what you're talking about ! A brew blog ----you just got a new fan!....:-}

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on March 11, 2012:

I have heard these terms but didn't know anything about them. I had some friends where I used to work that were starting something of this sort but I didn't know anything about the technicalities. I'll share with my followers.

Corey (author) from Northfield, MA on December 27, 2011:

Thanks thost! I just started writing a beer blog, too! I am a promoter for a microbrewery so I encounter a lot of delicious craft beers. Cheers.


thost from Dublin, Ireland on December 27, 2011:

I did not know the difference between Craft and Micro beers, and I like beer. This will give me something to talk about the next time I meet friends for a beer. Thank you for the information.

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on December 12, 2011:

I had no idea of the difference. I generally used the two terms interchangeably. Thanks for the enlightenment. How familiar are you with Oregon Craft and Micro brews? Have you done any hubs on them? I'd be happy to ghost/guest write on your hub and drink some tasty beers at one of our fine Oregon brewery's.

Corey (author) from Northfield, MA on December 05, 2011:


If you suffer from seasonal allergies, like I do, some beer will give you a headache because of the ingredients used to create the beer. Hops may be causing this. I find that if I drink a hoppy beer like an India Pale Ale, I will get a headache because hops are a flower bud which I am sensitive to. Try a less hoppy beer like a malted amber ale.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on December 03, 2011:

I am a dummy when it comes to beer making and stuff. I love beer but some gives me a headache. I find the stouts or ales don't. Thanks for sharing this very interesting article about micro brew and craft beer.

Arlene V. Poma on December 02, 2011:

Looking forward to your writing, cabmgmnt.

Corey (author) from Northfield, MA on December 02, 2011:

Thanks Arlene. I am glad that clarified things for you. I plan on writing a lot more about beer and brewing so, I promise to continue educating you.

Arlene V. Poma on December 02, 2011:

Thank you for this Hub. My husband has his favorites, so now when I follow him to beer fests as a designated driver, I can under the difference by craft beer and micro beer. I don't drink, but that doesn't mean I'm not open to learning new things about beer. As a non-drinker, I do enjoy a beer fest more than wine tasting. Vote up and all the rest.

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