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Craft brewers to raise a flag to independence

November 16, 2018

A glass of Lake House is among the offerings from Capital Brewery in Middleton, one of the state's first craft brewing companies.

Several craft beer producers in the state will be hoisting a flag on Tuesday to promote their businesses as independent brewers as defined by the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based non-profit trade group that advocates for small and independent craft brewers.

The independent craft seal program was launched by the Brewers Association in April and has been adopted by Wisconsin craft brewers and the Wisconsin Brewers Guild as a way to support the state’s growing craft brewing industry. Thirty Wisconsin craft breweries will raise a flag at their breweries at 10 a.m. Tuesday, retailers are being provided signage to help promote craft beer and the seals are beginning to appear on craft beer packaging, said Mark Garthwaite, executive director of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild.

“Our taprooms are the ‘test labs’ to share product innovations with consumers but our retail partners are vital to taking those products to a broader consumer audience,” Garthwaite said. “As an organization, we felt it was important to add emphasis to the significance of the Independent craft seal by extending its meaning beyond the brewery. Small and independent retailers are important to us and they are important for providing consumers with more choice.”

The flags, bearing an icon of an upside down beer bottle emblazoned with “independent craft”, will be flown just in time for Small Business Saturday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Wisconsin is home to over 160 craft breweries. Those from southern Wisconsin that will be flying the seal on Tuesday include Capital Brewery in Middleton; Port Huron Brewing Co. in Wisconsin Dells; Sand Creek Brewing Co. in Black River Falls; Second Salem Brewing Co. in Whitewater and Wisconsin Brewing Co. in Verona.

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