4 Types of Craft Brewing Businesses

The Brewer’s Association for Small and Independent Craft Brewers defines 4 types of breweries, namely, contracted brewers, microbreweries, brewpubs, and regional craft breweries.


Brewpubs are notoriously restaurant breweries that sell at least 25% of their beer onsite. In some areas, brewpubs can sell a variety of alcoholic drinks, as well as have a tasty list of food options on the menu. The beer, wine, and spirits can be from local or mass-produced manufacturers.


Microbreweries are small businesses that have a taproom that sells beer onsite to give beer enthusiasts a taste. These small breweries do not produce a lot of beer, and The BA defines a microbrewery as a business that produces not more than 15,000 barrels of beer annually. It also sells most of its beer to pubs, restaurants, and other businesses.

Contract Brewing Company

This is when a large business or corporation hires a brewery to manufacture their beer. The business model contracts the facilities and services. The larger business will then handle other branches of the business, such as marketing, distribution, and sales. Small brewers who struggle to keep up with demand may sign a contract with bigger brewing companies.

Regional Craft Brewery

Regional craft breweries are often seen as more independent brewing businesses. Beer is produced on a small scale, with most of the volume sold to local communities. Many people see Regional Craft Beer as more “traditional” or “innovative”, among other blends. Regional breweries also prefer to stay small and authentic without relying on mass production.

People who want to start their own brewing business need to as themselves a series of questions. Who will want to drink my beer? What makes my brand unique? The answers to these questions will build the core of the brand.

Craft beers are known and celebrated for their unique brand. The brand can embody the best attributes of the community and its traditions. Millennials want authentic connections with the brands of beer they buy. With so many craft breweries popping up all over the world, there’s growing customer demand for high-quality craft beer.