Last night I was enjoying some brews at Liberty Street Brewing Company in Plymouth, and one of the partners, Josh Traylor, was kind enough to break down for me the difference between a brewery, a microbrewery, and a brewpub. I suspect that this is information that could be useful to many of my readers (seeing as how most of us use the terms interchangeably), so I decided to share this info with you. Ah, the things I do.
Also thanks to the Michigan Brewers Guild for putting out a publication called Michigan: The Great Beer State (published by Hour Custom Publishing, and you can totally tell), whose 2009 edition also offers a great breakdown of the differences which I am now about to copy verbatim.
A brewery can sell beer both in their own tavern as well as through retailers across the state. Breweries are limited to one tavern per company.
A microbrewery is limited to brewers under 30,000 barrels of annual production. Microbreweries can sell beer in both their own taverns or through retailers across the state. They are not limited in the number of taverns they may operate.
A brewpub can only sell its beer inside its own establishment, including beer-to-go. It also may include a liquor license and offer a full-service bar.
These defintions are based on the State of Michigan licensing qualifications, and if you ask me some of the restrictions are a bit arbitrary (a brewery can only have one tavern but a microbrewery can have a limitless number?), but no one asked me.
Now cue the music for The More You Know.