Have you ever heard the terms, “brewpub”, “microbrewery”, or “craft brewery” and thought to yourself, “what the heck is the difference?” Well, you’re not alone, and hopefully this breakdown helps you like it’s helped us.

Craft Brewer

First, let’s break down what a craft brewer is and what it means to be considered “craft”. A craft brewer is small and independent; which means that no more than 6 million barrels of beer are produced annually and less than 25% is owned by an alcohol industry member that is itself, not a craft brewer.

Being a “craft brewery” is often used as a catch all term for any business that brews beer and is not considered “macro”, which is a brewery that produces more than 6 million barrels of beer annually. All of the following brewery concepts are typically considered “craft” provided that the two criteria of a craft brewer are met.


Microbreweries are a lot like craft breweries, but they are even smaller. Microbreweries sell less than 15,000 barrels of beer annually and 75% or more of it’s brews are sold off-site. They may distribute to wholesalers who will then distribute to retailers, distribute directly to retailers, or through on-site taproom sales. Sometimes state laws can put restrictions on which of these methods microbreweries can use.

Brewpubs and Taprooms

Brewpubs and taprooms sell more than 25% of it’s beer on-site, and when allowed by the law, they may also distribute to off-site accounts. The main difference between the two of these are brewpubs typically offer a significant food service and taprooms do not.

Some Fun Facts

To put into perspective how much beer 15,000 and 6 million barrels produce consider this:

  • One barrel of beer
    = 31 gallons of beer
    = 248 pints of beer (16 oz.)
  • 15,000 barrels of beer
    = 465,000 gallons of beer
    = 3.72 million pints of beer (16 oz.)
  • 6 million barrels of beer
    = 186 million gallons of beer
    = 1.5 billion pints of beer (16 oz.)

Now that’s a lot of beer!

Information sourced from www.brewersassociation.org