Unprecedented growth in the craft brewing industry continues. The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, recently released 2014 data on U.S. craft brewing(¹) growth. For the first-time ever, craft brewers reached double-digit (11 percent) volume share of the marketplace. In 2014, craft brewers produced 22.2 million barrels and saw an 18 percent rise in volume (²) and a 22 percent increase in retail dollar value (³). Retail dollar value was estimated at $19.6 billion representing 19.3 percent market share.
“With the total beer market up only 0.5 percent in 2014, craft brewers are key in keeping the overall industry innovative and growing,” said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association. “This steady growth shows that craft brewing is part of a profound shift in American beer culture — a shift that will help craft brewers achieve their ambitious goal of 20 percent market share by 2020. Small and independent brewers are deepening their connection to local beer lovers while continuing to create excitement and attract even more appreciators.”
Additionally, the number of operating breweries in the United States in 2014 grew 19 percent, totaling 3,464 breweries, with 3,418 considered craft broken down as follows: 1,871 microbreweries, 1,412 brewpubs and 135 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 615 new brewery openings and only 46 closings.
Combined with already existing and established breweries and brew pubs, craft brewers provided 115,469 jobs, an increase of almost 5,000 from the previous year.
“These small businesses are one of the bright spots in both our economy and culture. Craft brewers are serving their local communities, brewing up jobs and boosting tourism,” added Watson. “Craft brewers are creating high quality, differentiated beers; new brewers that match this standard will be welcomed in the market with open arms.”
Note: Numbers are preliminary. The Brewers Association will release the list of Top 50 craft brewing companies and overall brewing companies by volume sales on March 31. Additionally, a more extensive analysis will be released during the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America in Portland, Oregon from April 14-17. The full 2014 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2015 issue of The New Brewer, highlighting regional trends and production by individual breweries.
1. An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.
2. Volume by craft brewers represent total taxable production.
3. Figure derived from comparable data set based on 2014 update of craft brewer definition.