If your answer is “I know it when I see it”, you may want to think again. As the craft beer market expands (and the mass-produced beer segment shrinks year over year) the definition of what constitutes a craft beer has changed as the big brewing conglomerates try to sneak into the market. Sometimes it’s by buying a craft brewery like Blue Point (Anheuser-Busch) or re-defining the upper limit for production (Boston Brewing). Do you know who makes Blue Moon or Shock Top? MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch. You won’t find that little fact on the label of either beer, of course. It’s becoming tougher to be an informed consumer.
It’s inevitable, I suppose, that the big guys would begin to notice the changing market. But the potentially misleading tactics and changing definitions aren’t the right way to compete, making better beer is. Unfortunately, that’s not the choice they seem to have made. So that puts the onus on the craft beer consumers to educate themselves. Just don’t read the labels.