Craft beer clash shows signs of brewing

A SUDDENLY public debate over craft beer versus "faux craft" brands made by multinational conglomerates could portend bigger battles to come in the rapidly growing segment.

A SUDDENLY public debate over craft beer versus "faux craft" brands made by multinational conglomerates could portend bigger battles to come in the rapidly growing segment.

In a biting opening salvo, a trade group for America's craft brewers has accused Anheuser-Busch InBev and other major manufacturers of "deliberately attempting to blur the lines between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today's small and independent brewers".

"We call for transparency in brand ownership and for information to be clearly presented in a way that allows beer drinkers to make an informed choice about who brewed the beer they are drinking," the Colorado-based Brewers Association said.

The group singled out Blue Moon and the Shock Top line.

Those popular beers are owned and produced by, respectively, SABMiller, the same company that makes Miller Lite, and AB-InBev, the Belgium-based purveyor of the ubiquitous Budweiser and Bud Light.

"You would not know that from looking at the labels," said Julia Herz, craft beer director for the Brewers Association. Ms Herz has called for manufacturers to be more transparent in their labelling.

The debate got off to a brisk start on Twitter, with the hashtag #CraftVsCrafty, and beyond.

In Australia, Lion Nathan owns beer brands such as Knappstein Reserve Lager and James Squire that could spark similar "craft versus crafty" debate.

Carlton & United Breweries owns Matilda Bay, which produces Bohemian Pilsner. It is described as a "hand-crafted" beer.

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