A “microbrewery” (or “micro brewery") is a brewery with a limited production of beer. The definition of a microbrewery varies by state law. In New York State:
“MICROBREWERY: May produce or brew up to 60,000 barrels of beer. May sell to licensees. May NOT sell to the general public without a brewer’s retail permit. May apply for an on-premises liquor license in or adjacent to the brewery.”
The term “‘micro’ brewery” has been cited in print since at least December 1981. A brewery smaller than a microbrewery is called a “nanobrewery.”
A microbrewery is a brewery which produces a limited amount of beer.
In the UK, the term has become synonymous with small scale breweries operating under the UK Progressive Beer Duty threshold of 5,000 hls. The most common product is cask conditioned bitter. Breweries are often described by their production capacity or brew length, mostly ranging from 2 to 20 bbls (a brewer’s barrel or bbl is 36 imperial gallons).
In the US, the American Brewers Association defines a “craft brewery” as “small, independent and traditional”, and gives a production size of less than 6,000,000 US beer barrels (700,000,000 L) a year and can not be more than 24% owned by another alcoholic beverage company that is not itself a craft brewery (This means Goose Island and other breweries like it are no longer craft breweries due to ownership by MillerCoors or AB InBev). A brewpub may also be known as a microbrewery if production has a significant distribution beyond the premises - the American Brewers Association use a fixed 75% of production to determine if a company is a microbrewery.; regional craft brewery: at least 50% of its volume is all malt beers. A regional brewery has annual production between 15,000 US beer barrels (1,800,000 L) and 2,000,000 US beer barrels (230,000,000 L) per year. In order to be classified as a “regional craft brewery” by the brewers association, a brewery must possess “either an all-malt flagship or [have] at least 50% of its volume in either all-malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.” Of the 2,126 breweries in America, only 43 are not defined as craft brewers, and 100 not defined as either a micro or brewpub.
New York State Liquor Authority
DEFINITION OF LICENSE CLASSES
MICROBREWERY: May produce or brew up to 60,000 barrels of beer. May sell to licensees. May NOT sell to the general public without a brewer’s retail permit. May apply for an on-premises liquor license in or adjacent to the brewery.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
Chiefly N. Amer.
A brewery which produces limited quantities of beer, often for consumption locally or on its own premises.
1982 New Mexican (Sante Fe) 10 May a-2/2 The fourth annual National Homebrew-Microbrewery Conference and Competition June 3–5, sponsored by the American Homebrewers Association.
1982 Economist 7 Aug. 54/1 The total annual production of these micro-breweries (sometimes called boutique breweries) is about 4,000 barrels.
1987 Newsweek 9 Feb. 49/1 Meantime the number of microbreweries, which sell their product both in bottles and at brewpublike taprooms, has grown from 40 in 1980 to 63 in 1985.
15 December 1981, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Small brewery faces eviction, seeks new site” by Steve Jenning, pg. B8, col. 1:
It may be last call for Portland’s Cartwright Brewing Co., a year-old beer-making concern faced with eviction from its eastside plant.
Charles and Shirley Coury, husband-and-wife owners of the “micro” brewery, said Monday that their landlord has given them until Dec. 28 to move out.
OCLC WorldCat record
A transcription of the proceedings : the American Homebrewers Association’s Fourth Annual National Homebrew and Microbrewery Conference, June 4 and 5, 1982, Hilton Harvest House, Boulder, Colorado
Author: Kathy McClurg; American Homebrewers Association.; et al
Publisher: Boulder, Colo. (Box 287, Boulder 80306) : American Homebrewers Association, ©1982.
Series: Tech (American Homebrewers Association), 82-1.
Edition/Format: Book : Conference publication : English
20 November 1983, Sunday World-Herald (Omaha, NE), “Iowa’s Oldest Brewery Plans Fresh Start” by Val Corley (AP), pg. 7-M, col. 3:
Armitage said a large brewery is considered to be one that produces more than a million barrels of beer a year, a small brewery is classified as less than a million down to 10,000 barrels and a micro brewery one that produces less than 10,000 barrels a year.
OCLC WorldCat record
An Overview of the North American microbrewery and brewpub trend.
Author: Malt Beverage Research International.
Publisher: [Mountain View, Calif.] : Malt Beverage Research International, [©1984]
Series: Brewing for profit on a small scale, v. 1.
Edition/Format: Book : English : 1st ed
OCLC WorldCat record
Publisher: Irvine, Calif. : Entrepreneur Group, ©1992.
Series: Entrepreneur business guide, no. 1367.
Edition/Format: Book : English
New York (NY) Times
Jersey Dining | Breweries
New Rules Let More Beer Flow
By TAMMY LA GORCE
Published: January 4, 2013
LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — When Sean Hanrahan and Nina Sassano, both of Freehold, bought tickets to the River Horse Brewing Company’s oatmeal milk stout release party here last month, they noticed on Facebook that it was the first time the brewery was holding such an event, Ms. Sassano said. But they did not realize that a change in New Jersey law governing microbreweries had made such gatherings possible.
But in New Jersey, before September, microbreweries could not sell their products for consumption on the premises. Now they can, though they cannot serve food, and visitors must participate in a tour in order to imbibe.
Microbreweries were also prevented from selling more than two six-packs of beer to go. Now, customers may buy up to a keg, equal to 15.5 gallons of beer, directly from a microbrewery.
DNAinfo New York
LIC Microbrewery Opens Growler Room
By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on October 18, 2012 1:45pm | Updated on October 18, 2012 1:45pm
LONG ISLAND CITY — Hunters Point suds lovers can finally get a fresh locally brewed beer in their neighborhood.
Starting Thursday, Rockaway Brewing Company — which opened in the area in June — will be selling its brew in its new growler room.
New York City • Restaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Thursday, July 18, 2013 • Permalink