At the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in Nashville, Tenn., I watched as the Boulder-Colo.- based Brewers Association (BA) sought to rally the throng of small and independent craft brewers in attendance to adopt a new program for their packaging and merchandising. The seal, showcasing an upside-down beer bottle with “Independent Craft” reversed out of white, was prominently displayed on signage and marketed during keynote presentations during the record-breaking CBC that attracted nearly 13,000 attendees.

The seal, which officially launched last June, aims to support small and independent craft brewers and to serve as a point of differentiation between craft beer and big beer brands, the BA says. The new program also is focused on enabling on- and off-premise retailers to embrace independent craft beer.

As a result, the trade association is equipping on- and off-premise retailers with free point-of-sale assets, including cooler clings, to activate the independent craft brewer seal and help consumers better identify small- and mid-sized craft breweries via the new craft brewer seal, the BA adds.

Bars, restaurants, liquor stores, grocery stores and retailers also are encouraged to utilize the seal to elevate how they promote craft beer, it says.

“Independence not only matters, it pays and rewards both retailers and beer lovers,” said Julia Herz, craft beer program director of the Brewers Association, in a statement. “Beer drinkers express that transparency and underlying ownership can drive their purchase intent. Data shows that independent craft outperforms big beer-acquired brands on a number of metrics.” Retailers can “seal the deal” by adopting the seal at the point of purchase, she adds.

To date, more than 3,200 small and independent craft breweries have adopted the seal, displaying it on packaging, in breweries, across websites, social channels and more, the BA notes.