The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) — the not-for-profit trade association serving as a resource and community for homebrewers — released results of a first-ever nationwide homebrewer survey, a breakdown of demographics, brewing habits and shopping behaviors of American homebrewers. According to the survey, there are an estimated 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States, two-thirds of whom began brewing in 2005 or later.
“The homebrewing community is in every corner of the country and highly engaged in this hobby,” said Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association. “From the amount of money spent on supplies to the sheer number of homebrewers, it’s clear this is a growing trend and people are incredibly interested in learning about and making their own brews at home.”
Survey results include:
- Demographics: The average homebrewer is 40 years old, with most (60 percent) falling between 30 and 49 years old. The majority of homebrewers are married or in a domestic partnership (78 percent), have a college degree or some form of higher education (69 percent) and are highly affluent — nearly 60 percent of all homebrewers have household incomes of $75,000 or more.
- Location: Homebrewers are fairly evenly spread across the country, with the slight plurality congregated in the West (31 percent), followed by the South (26 percent), Midwest (23 percent) and the fewest in the Northeast (17 percent).
- Production: In terms of brew production, homebrewers mainly stick to beer — 60 percent of respondents only brew beer at home, compared to wine, mead or cider. AHA members and people affiliated with the AHA on average brewed nearly 10 batches of beer per year, at 7 gallons a batch, which is 15 percent more batches and nearly 30 percent more volume than homebrewers who were not affiliated with the AHA. Collectively, homebrewers produce more than 2 million barrels of brew a year, which represents a small but sizeable portion (1 percent) of total U.S. production.
- Retail: Nearly all homebrewers (95 percent) shop in two local homebrew stores eight or nine times a year, while a majority (80 percent) also shops in three online stores five times a year. On average, homebrewers spend $800 a yea r— about $460 on general supplies and ingredients, and $330 on major equipment.
Our take: A growing trend? More like an explosion. Just look at the number of new craft breweries. This year brought the total to more than 2,500. Many, if not most, craft brewers get into the business through their homebrewing passion. But where is all this growth heading? Is the craft beer industry looking at a bubble fueled by interest in the art of brewing and the allure of striking IPA gold? Voices are split on the matter, but we’ll keep tracking the trends that impact the industry.