America’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributors are celebrating the excitement that craft beer brings to the beer industry during American Craft Beer Week, May 12-18, 2014, a national celebration highlighting the culture and contributions of craft beer and craft breweries across the United States, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) stated.
According to 2013 data released by the Brewers Association (BA), craft brewers experienced an 18 percent growth in volume and represent 7.8 percent of the U.S. beer market volume, which is up from 6.5 percent just a year earlier. According to the BA, small and independent American brewers sold approximately 15.6 million barrels of beer in 2013, and craft beer has averaged nearly 11 percent growth each year over the past decade. The BA also reported that there were 2,822 breweries (including more than 1,200 brewpubs) operating in the U.S. in 2013, with 98 percent (2,768) being craft breweries. That number includes the more than 400 new breweries that opened for business in 2013 across the country.
“Craft beer continues to provide a significant contribution to the American beer industry and the overall economy,” said NBWA President and Chief Executive Officer Craig Purser. “NBWA is proud of the role that independent beer distributors play to help the craft beer industry thrive. The tremendous growth in craft beer sales underscores the excitement of independent beer distributors in partnering with America’s craft brewers to help them reach a wide network of retailers and increase their value.
“This success is due in part to the effectiveness of the independent distribution system that allows access to market for brewers of all sizes and a state-based regulatory system that works to level the playing field between brewers, distributors and retailers,” Purser continued. “When it comes to market access, brewers have more routes to market than ever before. Thanks to thousands of different distribution channels, today’s marketplace offers an unparalleled number of styles, varieties and flavors of beer to consumers from coast to coast. American Craft Beer Week is a great opportunity to celebrate this variety.”
NBWA and the BA will present the Eighth Annual Craft Beer Distributor of the Year Award on Oct. 4, 2014, at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The award recognizes an American beer distributor who goes above and beyond in their efforts to actively market, sell and promote craft beer. In addition to the Craft Beer Distributor of the Year Award, a Craft Beer Distributor Achievement Award (first runner-up) and a Craft Beer Distributor Recognition Award (second runner-up) will be presented. Nominations must be submitted by July 11, 2014.