A microbrewery or craft brewery is a brewery that produces small amounts of beer, typically much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries, and is independently owned. Such breweries are generally characterized by their emphasis on quality, flavor and brewing technique.
The microbrewing movement began in the United Kingdom in the 1970s although traditional artisanal brewing existed in Europe for centuries and subsequently spread to other countries. As the movement grew and some breweries expanded their production and distribution, the more encompassing concept of craft brewing emerged. A brewpub is a pub that brews its own beer for sale on the premises.
Although the term « microbrewery » was originally used in relation to the size of breweries, it gradually came to reflect an alternative attitude and approach to brewing flexibility, adaptability, experimentation and customer service. The term and trend spread to the US in the 1980s and was eventually used as a designation of breweries that produce fewer than 15,000 U.S. beer barrels (1,800,000 liters; 460,000 U.S. gallons) annually.