The steady and sustained growth of American craft brewing continued during the first half of 2013, according to mid-year data released by the Brewers Association (BA). The not-for-profit trade association, which represents the majority of U.S. breweries, announced that during the first six months of 2013, American craft beer dollar sales and volume were up 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Over the same period last year, dollar sales jumped 14 percent and volume increased 12 percent.
During the first half of 2013, approximately 7.3 million barrels (bbls) of beer were sold by small and independent* craft brewers, up from 6.4 million bbls over the first half of 2012. American craft beer continues to grow despite decreased overall beer sales, which were down two percent through the first six months of the year.
“Demand for beer produced by small and independent brewers has never been higher, as evidenced by increased production and the hundreds of new breweries joining the playing field each year,” said Paul Gatza, director of the BA. “Beer drinkers nationwide are responding positively to high-quality, full-flavored, diverse offerings from American craft brewing companies that continue to innovate and push the envelope.”
There are 2,538 breweries operating in the U.S. as of June 30, 2013, an increase of 446 breweries since June 2012. The BA also lists an additional 1,605 breweries in planning at the year’s midpoint, compared to 1,252 a year ago. As of June 30, 2013, the count of craft breweries was at 2,483, showing that 98 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 108,440 full-time and part-time workers, many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.
“More breweries are currently operating in the U.S. than at any time since the 1870s.” Gatza added. “With each new brewery opening, American craft brewers are reinforcing the U.S.’s position as the world’s most diverse brewing nation. It’s a very good time to be an American beer lover.”
*The definition of a craft brewer as stated by the Brewers Association: An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Small: Annual production of beer less than 6 million barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50 percent of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.