Brewery Definitions

Brewery Definitions

Brewery Definitions


Home brewery

Some states have varying laws on the legality of home brewing; you may want to check with your local and state laws for the clarification on this. For example: Michigan law limits you to 16 barrels or 500 gallons per year.


A brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels (17,600 hectoliters) of beer per year. Microbreweries sell to the public by one or more of the following methods: the traditional three-tier system (brewer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer); the two-tier system (brewer acting as wholesaler to retailer to consumer); and in some cases, directly to the consumer through carry outs, on-site tap room, or brewery restaurant sales.

Brew pub

A restaurant-brewery that sells the majority of its beer on site. The beer is brewed for sale and consumption in the adjacent restaurant and/or bar. The beer is often dispensed directly from the brewery's storage tanks into your personalized beer mugs. Where allowed by law, brewpubs often sell beer "to go" and/or distribute to off-site accounts. Note: For statistical purposes, brewpubs whose off-site beer sales grow to exceed 50 percent of total sales are re-categorized as microbreweries.

Regional Brewery

A brewery with a capacity to brew between 15,000 and 500,000 barrels (17,600 and 586,700 hectoliters). Although its distribution may, in fact, be regional in scope, for categorization purposes "regional" refers to the brewery's size only.

Regional Specialty Brewery

A regional-scale brewery whose flagship (largest selling) brand is positioned as a "micro" or specialty beer.

Large Brewery

A company with sales of more than 500,000 barrels (586,700 hectoliters). Some large brewing companies operate a single brewing facility, while others may have more than a dozen. This is what you’re going to find in the majority of personalized beer glasses and beer glasses across the nation.

Contract Brewing Company

A business that hires a brewery to produce its beer. The contract brewing company handles marketing, sales, and distribution of its beer, while generally leaving the brewing and packaging to its producer-brewery (which, confusingly, is sometimes referred to as a contract brewer).