May 30, 2017 1:14 AM
Although the term "microbrewery" was originally used in relation to the size of breweries, it gradually came to reflect an alternative attitude and approach to brewing flexibility, adaptability, experimentation and customer service. The term and trend spread to the US in the 1980s and was eventually used as a designation of breweries that produce fewer than 15,000 U.S. beer barrels (1,800,000 liters; 460,000 U.S. gallons) annually.
Microbreweries have adopted a marketing strategy that differs from those of the large, mass-market breweries, offering products that compete on the basis of quality and diversity instead of low price and advertising. Their influence has been much greater than their market share, which amounts to only 2% in the UK, indicated by the introduction by large commercial breweries of new brands for the craft beer market. However, when the strategy failed, the corporate breweries invested in microbreweries or, in many cases, acquired them outright.
Microbreweries gradually appeared in other countries, such as New Zealand and Australia. Craft beer and microbreweries were cited as the reason for a 15 million L (4.0 million US gal) drop in alcohol sales in New Zealand over 2012, with New Zealanders preferring higher-priced premium beers over cheaper brands.