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The Real Difference Between Craft Beer and Draft Beer

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

So, you know those heated debates among beer lovers about craft beer versus draft beer? It's like choosing between a quirky apple and a no-nonsense orange, right? Wrong! Here's the twist – the whole craft vs. draft beer thing? It's not really a clash of beer styles; more like a mix-up of terms. 

Craft beer and draft beer are not mutually exclusive terms; they refer to different aspects of beer.


Definition: Craft beer refers to beer produced by small, independent breweries that prioritize quality, flavor, and traditional brewing methods.

Characteristics: Craft beers are often associated with innovation, unique flavors, and a connection to the local community. Craft breweries can produce various styles, from traditional ales and lagers to experimental and artisanal brews.


Definition: Draft beer, on the other hand, refers to beer that is served from a keg or cask, typically on tap at a bar, restaurant, or brewery.

Characteristics: Draft beer is commonly associated with freshness and a different serving experience compared to bottled or canned beer. It is poured into a glass from a tap system, often with the option of different types of beers being available.

In summary, "craft" describes the characteristics of the brewery, emphasizing factors like size, independence, and brewing philosophy, while "draft" refers to the method of serving beer. It's entirely possible for a craft beer to be available in draft form, and many craft breweries take advantage of this serving method to showcase their beers in a fresh and controlled manner. Conversely, not all draft beers are craft; they can come from breweries of various sizes and ownership structures.

What sets craft beer apart is not merely a matter of cost; it's about the craftsmanship, the quality of ingredients, and the narrative behind each sip.

More Misconceptions

" Craft Beer is always hoppy "

In the grand tapestry of craft beer, there's a common misperception that hops reign supreme, and every craft brew is a hoppy juggernaut. Sure, the IPA has had its meteoric rise, becoming the poster child of the craft beer movement, but to limit the craft beer universe to hops is akin to reducing a symphony to a single note.

Craft breweries are more like mad scientists in a beer laboratory, concocting an array of styles that can tantalize taste buds from all walks of beerdom. Stouts emerge with rich, coffee-like depths, porters flaunt their chocolatey sophistication, and wheat beers dance with citrusy effervescence. Craft beer isn't a one-hop show; it's a multi-style extravaganza where brewers, armed with creativity and a bit of rebellious spirit, traverse the entire flavor spectrum.

" Craft Beer is always expensive "

Craft beer often wears the reputation of a beverage reserved for the more affluent palate, a libation associated with a higher price tag. While it's true that crafting a quality brew with top-notch ingredients and in smaller batches can influence the cost, painting all craft beers with the broad brush of expense misses a crucial point—the value and uniqueness they offer.

What sets craft beer apart is not merely a matter of cost; it's about the craftsmanship, the quality of ingredients, and the narrative behind each sip. The emphasis is on the value derived from the labor-intensive brewing process and the unique flavors that might not be found in the mass-produced beer aisle.

" All Craft Beer comes in bottles with fancy labels "

The image that often comes to mind when thinking about craft beer is a meticulously designed bottle, adorned with an intricate label, telling the story of the brew within. While this picturesque presentation is undoubtedly true for many craft beers, it's a misunderstanding to assume that this is the only form in which craft brews make their entrance. Craft breweries embrace a variety of packaging options, challenging the notion that every craft beer is confined within glass walls.

The can, once considered the bastion of mainstream beers, has found a new home in the craft beer scene. Cans are not just vessels; they're guardians of freshness, protecting the beer from light and oxygen, ensuring that the first sip is as delightful as the brewer intended.

And let's not forget the good old keg, it's ready to flow freely from taps at your favorite local bar (Shameless plug-in - In Bad Co.)

Craft beer is not just about the hops, the price tag, or the packaging; it's a rich tapestry of innovation, tradition, and a celebration of the brewer's craft. So, whether it comes in a can, a bottle with a label reminiscent of a work of art, or straight from the tap, let's raise our glasses to the vast and ever-expanding world of craft beer. Here's to breaking misconceptions, one sip at a time.

Cheers! 🍻

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