We keep saying it, and it keeps proving true: The craft brewing industry is booming. Yes, even in 2014, coming off a big year in 2013, all charts continue to go up. To prove the point, the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, released some great year-end numbers for 2014.
The craft brewery count continues to move toward historic levels. In November, the United States passed the mark of 3,200 brewers in the country, and the number of brewery licenses reached its highest mark ever, topping 4,500 in the first sixth months of the year. Thirteen states (CA, CO, WA, OR, MI, NY, PA, TX, FL, WI, IL, NC and OH) now have more than 100 breweries each.
Breweries are opening at a rate of 1.5 per day. In addition, there are more than 2,000 breweries in planning.
Craft brewers were the growth point in the overall beer industry. Through June 2014, craft brewers enjoyed 18 percent growth by volume. Numerous data channels are showing continuing double-digit growth for craft beer in the second half of the year.
India Pale Ales (IPAs) remain the most favored craft beer style. According to retail scan data, IPAs are up 47 percent by volume and 49 percent by dollar sales, accounting for 21 percent volume share of craft and 23 percent dollar share of off-premise beer sales. Additionally, the style was the number one entered category at the Great American Beer Festival.
Variety packs had a strong year with craft beer lovers. Retail data also indicates that variety packs are up 21 percent by volume and 24 percent by dollar sales, equating to nine percent volume share of craft and seven percent dollar share.
Craft beer appreciators are becoming as diverse as craft beer itself. Data indicates that 38 percent of households bought a craft beer in the last year vs. 29 percent in 2010. Additionally, women consume almost 32 percent of craft beer volume, almost half of which comes from women ages 21-34. Hispanic populations are demonstrating increased craft engagement as well.
“More and more breweries will spur innovation, meaning there will be even more offerings on hand for beer geeks and beginners to enjoy,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Not to mention more opportunities to explore and support local breweries, which has a profound impact on the economy at the regional, state and national level.”