What is the Difference Between a Craft Brewery, a Microbrewery, and a Macrobrewery?
Posted by Chelsea Finnigan on
A lot of people ask us what the difference is between a craft brewery, a microbrewery, and a macrobrewery, and whether or not brewing non-alcoholic beer changes the definition.
To answer the latter question, no matter what you’re brewing - be it kombucha, wine, beer, or even non-alcoholic beer, the definitions and answers are all the same (at least in Canada, where we’re from) - but let’s focus on beer for the purpose of this post.
To reiterate, the difference between a non-alcoholic craft brewery and a non-alcoholic microbrewery is the same as the difference between an alcoholic craft brewery and an alcoholic microbrewery.
So what is the difference? A traditional brewery, or “Macrobrewery” produces millions of barrels of beer a year, while a microbrewery can produce no more than 15,000 barrels of beer a year. Microbreweries make “specialty beers”, the majority of which are usually consumed at the site of production. Lastly, we have craft breweries. Craft breweries fall somewhere between microbreweries and macrobreweries by the definition of having to produce less than 6 million gallons of beer a year. The regulations around craft breweries are also a little more strict than those of both macrobreweries and microbreweries, in that craft breweries must use traditional ingredients such as malts, barely, water, hops, and yeast. If a craft brewery wants to use other ingredients, it must be for the purpose of taste and not for the purpose of cost cutting, whereas both micro and macro breweries can use additional ingredients to cut costs.