To Craft or Not to Craft

The below guest posting was submitted to City Council Watchdog by Kevin from

The Naperville city council has been trying to determine what can be done regarding all of the liquor licenses in Naperville.  One of the proposed items is the restriction of beer size.  As a Zythologist (one who studies beer and beer making), I find the thought of craft vs. non-craft beer size restrictions as a bit of a strange argument.  The issue is that there is no exact definition of a craft beer or a craft brewery.  Typically this distinction is based upon how many barrels a brewer produces in a calendar year.  According to the Brewer’s Association, a craft brewer is considered small (producing 6 million barrels of beer or less or approximately less than 3% of annual US sales of all beer).  Additionally, the Brewer’s Association specifies that a craft brewer must also be independent and traditional.  These are vague terms with the exception of the 6 million barrels of beer or less.

Now to put this all into perspective, this means that in order for a beer to be considered craft, it must come from a craft brewery.  In order for the brewery to be considered craft, it must produce 186,000,000 gallons of beer or less per year.  Samuel Adams is the most widely known craft brewery and they proudly embrace the title of being a craft brewer.

Sam Adams - Craft Brewer

Naperville’s municipal code defines craft beer as being produced from a craft brewery that produces 2,000,000 barrels per year (62,000,000 gallons).  The issue is that this forces Naperville to police the amount of beer produced each year by every brewery around the world.

Almost any brewery can be considered a craft brewery and almost any beer can be considered craft (given the proper attorney and proper interpretation).  The problem is not craft vs. non-craft, but rather ABV (Alcohol by Volume).  Since the council is going to police how much alcohol a citizen can consume from a single serving (similar to New York’s ban on large “Sodas”), they must take ABV into consideration.  The typical spirit is 80 proof (or 40% ABV).  The average beer ABV of the over 37,000 beers on my website ( is 6.8% ABV.  Since the council and staff are attempting to address how much is too much, perhaps they can narrow down the substitutions and exceptions based on ABV.  If a beer is over a certain ABV, then here is how much that must be poured into a single glass and how much can be left in the bottle.

During the September 16, 2014 council meeting, councilman Paul Hinterlong and Detective Mark English hit the beer size restriction on the head…what’s the point?  The restriction seems to only hurt some establishments and has no true benefit.

While Detective English makes the argument that a 12 oz beer has the same alcohol as a shot (1.5 oz) of hard liquor.  Just as hard liquor varies in alcohol concentration (typical range between 40% to 75.5% ABV), beer also has a range from 0.1% to the Netherland’s Start the Future which weighs in at a whopping 60% ABV.

After the council is done and the rules are set in place, above all enjoy your beverage responsibly.

Show 3 Comments


  1. Gerard H Schilling

    More nanny state nonsense. If the police patrolled the downtown in appropriate ways and not congregate in coffee or talking clutches or worse run road blocks and locked up the thugs creating the problem in the first place we wouldn’t have the problem. The solutions of these statists is always to negate the rights of law abiding citizens instead of addressing and correcting the problem(s). In this case ineffective policing of trouble makers and correct allocation of resources.

  2. Huh?

    Why are the taxpayers supporting 9 Council members? They all vote exactly the same on almost all issues. it seems improbable that 9 individuals would all vote virtually the same on a wide range of issues. There appears to be no variety of thought, nor representation of the diverse population and their concerns. It would appear that most issues are decided in advance of the City Council meetings, but of course, that would never happen in Naperville. Let’s save the City some money and reduce the Council Members to 2. It would be much cheaper and easier to vote out 2 Council members than 5 or more to effect change if the direction of city takes a wrong turn.

  3. sober-and-orderly

    Either stop issuing liquor licenses, or embrace the mayhem, PERIOD! It is the high concentration of establishments with late night liquor licenses and loud music that attract large crowds of “partiers”, just like Rush Street, just like Bourbon Street.

    If you want “family friendly” which unfortunately equates to less revenue, tax and otherwise, but does have the desired result of less late night incidences, rescind the late night liquor licenses.

    If you want more revenue, more police, more alcohol related problems, issue a license to every establishment in that two block area. Block off the streets to cars, allow drunken foot traffic only, let people have beer at Jimmy Johns with their sandwich, hell, just skip the sandwich, go outside and puke in the gutter, and then crawl over to Subway for a couple shots to cap the night off. Let’s get this party started!

    Limiting the size of beers and drinks, raising the prices, and the rest of the band-aid nonsense they are discussing, will only encourage people to start the party in their car or at home, get that base buzz going before they enter the well regulated bar, and the outcome will remain the same.

    Just my sane, humble, well informed, non-political opinion.

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