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"Craft brewing" is a more encompassing term for developments in the industry succeeding the microbrewing movement of the later 20th century. The definition is not entirely consistent, but it typically applies to relatively small, independently-owned commercial breweries that employ traditional brewing methods and emphasize flavor and quality. The term is usually reserved for breweries established since the 1970s, but may be used for older breweries with a similar focus.
Craft brewing is most established in the U.S., where changes to U.S. law laid the foundations for the expansion of craft brewing. The 1978 Carter homebrewing law allowed for small amounts of beer and wine, and, in 1979, Carter signed a bill to deregulate the brewing industry, making it easier to start new breweries.; although, states could still enact local restrictions. As a result of deregulation, homebrewing became a popular hobby in the 1980s and 1990s, and, in the mid-1990s, homebrewers launched business ventures based on home-based hobby brewing.
In 1979 89 breweries existed in the U.S.—the Brewers Association reports that in March 2013 a total of 2,416 U.S. breweries were in operation, with 2,360 considered craft breweries (98 percent—1,124 brewpubs, 1,139 microbreweries, and 97 regional craft breweries). Additionally, craft brewers sold more than 15.6 million barrels of beer, which represented approximately 7.8% of the U.S. market by volume. In 2007 the largest American craft brewery was the Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams.
The Brewers Association defines American craft brewers as "small, independent and traditional": "small" is defined as an "annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less"; "independent" is defined as at least 75% owned or controlled by a craft brewer; and "traditional" is defined as brewing in which at least 50% of the beer's volume consists of "traditional or innovative" ingredients. This definition includes older microbreweries, which traditionally produce small quantities of beer, as well as other breweries of various sizes and specialties.
The Brewers Association defines four markets within American craft brewing: microbreweries, with an annual production less than 15,000 US beer barrels (1,800,000 L); brewpubs, which sell 25% or more of their beer on site; regional craft breweries, which make between 15,000 US beer barrels (1,800,000 L) and 6,000,000 US beer barrels (700,000,000 L), of which at least 50% is all malt or contains adjuncts that are used only to enhance flavor; and contract brewing companies, which hire other breweries to make their beer. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microbrewery ; see also http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)