There is a beer battle brewing across the country, and it’s having a significant economic impact right here in our backyard. Los Angeles is the largest beer market in the country with craft brewers contributing over $7 billion dollars to California’s state economy in 2016, creating 49,308 full-time equivalent jobs with an average wage of over $55,000 annually.
As founder of Three Weavers and as one of the 70+ independent craft breweries in Los Angeles County, I would like to share why independence and transparency in the craft beer industry is important.
After a career in financial planning, I took time to start a family. As a mother of three young daughters, I considered what was next for my career. As a passionate home brewer, I knew the craft beer scene in Los Angeles was in its infancy. With encouragement from family and friends, I founded Three Weavers in June of 2013. Four years later, Three Weavers is one of the largest independent craft breweries in L.A. County.
But Three Weavers is more than beer –it’s community.
You may not know that the beer industry is dominated by a small number of global corporations. These companies sell roughly four-fifths of all beer in the U.S.
Big Beer brands have been on the downturn in recent, facing diminishing market share and lower revenue numbers. Over the same period, craft breweries have been taking market share from these larger competitors. In 2016, the overall U.S. beer market had $107.6 billion in sales, with independent craft brewers representing $23.5 billion. To combat the consumer’s growing preference for craft beer, the global beer companies have diversified their portfolios by buying independent craft breweries.
Over the last few years, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has purchased a number of independent U.S. craft breweries, including Golden Road here in L.A. As companies like AB InBev continue adding craft brewery brands to their respective portfolio’s, they are continuing to represent and market these “crafty” brands as independent. It is this lack of transparency that represents a challenge for both craft brewers and our consumers.
Many beer drinkers want to support neighborhood craft breweries that are independent (meaning not owned and controlled by global beer corporations). The lack of transparency in real brewery ownership has made it increasingly difficult for beer drinkers to know which of their favorite beer brands are truly independent. A Nielsen/Brewbound Harris Poll released in May 2017 showed that independence matters to beer drinkers, who not only want to support small businesses in their local communities, they also want transparency when it comes to brewery ownership.
And they deserve it.
The good news for beer drinkers is that transparency can now be found at your favorite craft breweries – through the new Independent Beer Seal. The independent seal features an iconic beer bottle shape – flipped upside down – capturing the spirit with which independent craft brewers have creatively turned the beer industry on its head over the years.
As an independent craft brewery, we are now putting the seal on our packaging – cans and bottles –and posting the seal in our local tasting rooms. If you want to support the 6000 small and independent craft brewers, take a moment and look for the seal at points of purchase, including packaging, tap handles, tasting rooms, and more.
As the founder and CEO of a growing craft brewery, I believe that beer drinkers deserve transparency so they can make the decision on the beer brands they want to support.
Lynne Weaver is founder of Three Weavers Brewing Company in Inglewood.
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