Craft beer is now a $10 billion category.
As part of its annual report on the state of the U.S. craft beer industry, the Brewers Association (BA) — a trade group representing small and independent brewers — indicated that U.S. craft beer volumes reached an all-time high last year.
With 2012 production swelling past 13.2 million barrels — a 15 percent increase from 2011 — craft sales grew by 17 percent, taking total retail revenues for the category up to an estimated $10.2 billion.
“Beer is a $99 billion industry to which craft brewers are making a significant contribution, with retail sales share hitting double-digits for the first time in 2012,” BA director Paul Gatza said in a press release.
Craft beer sales have been steadily increasing since 2005, when 1,394 breweries made just 6.3 million barrels. Fast forward eight years, and nearly 1,000 new breweries have opened their doors, helping to more than double the industry’s total production of craft beer. In the last two years alone, 684 new breweries have launched, while only 80 have shut their doors, according to the BA.
“On average, we are seeing slightly more than one craft brewery per day opening somewhere in the U.S. and we anticipate even more in the coming year,” Gatza said.
But the BA definition of “craft ” only includes those brewers who produce less than 6 million barrels annually and are less than 25 percent owned by another non-craft brewer. That means production from Craft Brew Alliance (which markets the Kona, Redhook and Widmer Brothers brands), Goose Island, Magic Hat and Pyramid goes unaccounted for. The BA definition also excludes production from the independently-owned D.G. Yuengling & Son, which produced over 2.5 million barrels in 2012, and so-called “crafty” brews like Shock Top (owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev) and Blue Moon (owned by MillerCoors). Collectively, more than 6 million barrels of what many believe is better quality beer than most domestic premium offerings is left unaccounted for.
Nonetheless, the new BA figures confirm craft’s upward surge across multiple retail channels, which Symphony IRI’s senior vice president of beverage alcohol services, Dan Wandel, reported during last month’s “Power Hour” seminar. The research company said craft dollar sales increased 18.5 percent in food, drug, club, dollar, military, multi-outlet and convenience channels.
Included below is the complete BA press release which further details the growth of craft beer in 2012.
Boulder, CO — The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent American brewers, today released 2012 data on U.S. craft brewing1 growth. In a year when the total U.S. beer market grew by one percent, craft brewers saw a 15 percent rise in volume2 and a 17 percent increase in dollar growth, representing a total barrel increase of almost 1.8 million.
With production at 13,235,917 barrels in 2012, craft brewers reached 6.5 percent volume of the total U.S. beer market, up from 5.7 percent the previous year. Additionally, craft dollar share of the total U.S. beer market reached 10.2 percent in 2012, as retail dollar value from craft brewers was estimated at $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2011
“Beer is a $99 billion industry to which craft brewers are making a significant contribution, with retail sales share hitting double digits for the first time in 2012,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “Small and independent brewers are consistently innovating and producing high quality, flavor-forward craft brewed beer. Americans are not only responding to greater access to these products, but also to the stories and people behind them.”
In 2012, there was an 18 percent increase in the number of U.S. operating breweries, with the total count reaching 2,403. This count includes 409 new brewery openings and only 43 closings. Small breweries created an estimated 4,857 more jobs during the year, employing 108,440 workers, compared to 103,583 the year prior.
“On average, we are seeing slightly more than one craft brewery per day opening somewhere in the U.S. and we anticipate even more in the coming year. There is clearly a thirst in the marketplace for craft brewed beer, as indicated by the continued growth year after year,” added Gatza. “These small breweries are doing great things for their local communities, the greater community of craft brewers, our food arts culture and the overall economy.”