The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) — which represents the interests of America’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributors — applauds America’s craft brewers for their continued growth and entrepreneurial spirit, which adds energy and excitement to the American beer industry.
“Craft beer continues to provide a significant contribution to the American beer industry,” said NBWA President and CEO 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.”
According to data released by the Brewers Association (BA), craft brewers — as defined by BA — enjoyed continued growth during 2014 as American craft beer production volume increased 18 percent. The data suggested that craft brewers produced more than 22 million barrels of beer last year, constituting 18 percent growth for the segment.
Craft brewers now represent more than 10 percent of the beer volume sold in the U.S. marketplace — the first time the craft segment has reached double-digit volume.
“This success is due in large 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 said. “Today’s marketplace offers an unparalleled number of styles, varieties and flavors of beer to consumers from coast to coast. American consumers continue to demonstrate that they enjoy this vast variety.”
More than 3,400 breweries were in operation across the United States in 2014, representing a 19 percent increase in the number of breweries in the United States from the previous year. That number includes more than 600 new breweries that opened for business across the country in 2014. According to the BA, 99 percent of operating breweries are craft breweries.
Additional data points include:
• 97% of U.S. breweries produce less than 60,000 barrels per year
• 93% of U.S. breweries produce less than 15,000 barrels per year
• 91% of U.S. breweries produce less than 7,143 barrels per year
(Note: 7,143 barrels is a measurement the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau uses for a paperwork reduction rule for filing federal excise taxes.)
America’s beer distributors directly employ more than 130,000 people and add $54 billion to the economic output of the U.S.