A co-worker and I were curious (after the semi-heated discussion below about Gordon Biersch) - what is the exact definition of a micro-brew. Is it anything below the production level of a Budweiser or Coors (for example) - or as my co-worker says only beers sold on tap - not sold in stores or supermarkets? Beer brewed and sold in the same place? Any thoughts?I guess this should be in the general topics folder but thought I would throw it at the PNWers first.
It seems to be accepted by the media that a microbrewery produces less than 15,000 barrels per year, but this is a totally arbitrary number that was put out by an industry organization. (A barrel is 31 gallons.)
Many breweries have grown larger than this, and they still produce the same styles of beer. For this reason, the term 'craft brewery' is becoming common.
You also have outfits like Boston Beer (Samuel Adams) that contract for most of their product and sell as much as a million barrels, yet they have characteristics pretty much like those of the small breweries.