Cheers to the bevy of new craft beverages appealing to new consumer tastes and dramatically changing the alcohol manufacturing industry. Craft breweries, local wineries and craft distilleries have taken innovation in the industry to new heights. Some of these craft beverages can be traditional beer with a twist, literally, ciders, mead and the new emerging “kid on the block,” hard seltzer. While these are all defined as malt or brewed beverages for distribution purposes under the Liquor Code, there are also new craft beverages like “canned cocktails” and wine-based beverages having different manufacturing origins that create other legal implications.

While hard seltzer is the new darling of the alcohol ball and it’s typically made by a brewery as a malt base or sugar fermentation, it can also be made with a distillation from a distillery. Craft distilleries are starting to produce some unique “canned cocktails” and wineries continue to push out ciders that also can be made by a brewery license as long as it does not exceed 8.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). Wineries are creating wine-based products that have similar taste profiles to other products offered by breweries and distilleries. The difference in today’s industry is that there was a time when distilleries, wineries and breweries all competed for the same consumer but with distinct flavor profiles and marked ABV differentials. Now, the taste profiles have merged with similar ABV offerings yet, depending upon the category of manufacturer producing the product, the distribution channel can vary greatly.

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