The craft brewing industry defines microbrewery to be a brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels (17,600 hectoliters) of beer per year. Microbreweries sell to the public by one or more of the following methods:
  • the traditional three-tier system (brewer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer)
  • the two-tier system (brewer to retailer to consumer)
  • directly to the consumer through carry-outs and/or on-site tap room or restaurant sales
July 2003 estimates published by the Association of Brewers show there are 366 microbreweries in the United States.