Things are changing in the craft beer industry. For starters, it’s an insanely crowded marketplace with more than 5,300 breweries across America right now. How is that increasing competition changing the industry for consumer and brewer? Well, maybe you should watch the video above, presented by Paul Gatza, director, and Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association. These two beer brains (one with gorgeous hair, the other totally imbued with cool) discuss the increasingly crowded landscape in the annual State of the Industry for craft brewing at the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America in March. The Brewers Association just posted this video last week, so for all of you that couldn’t make it to the show in Washington, D.C., enjoy!
Some bullet points for the lazy (via CBB editor Chris Crowell):
- You’re not going to believe this but distributon is a crowded field. With 5,300+ breweries — it’s tough for even the best beers to get picked up.
- Microbreweries and taprooms are the healthiest segment of the craft beer industry.
- Larger breweries seem to understand this too. Those large breweries aren’t in acquistion mode as much these days as they are in acquisition deployment mode. The growth strategy from Big Beer right now is retail.
- The overall craft beer volume grew 6 percent in 2016. Imports were up 7 percent. Non craft domestics were down 2 percent. All large not indpendent breweries were up 2 percent.
- The United States actually dropped 24.5 million barrels of beer, but increased its profitability on that smaller supply (from a $5 billion supplier profit pool to $8 billion).
- “There’s still growth out there and someone is going to get it,” Gatza said. “It might be the large brewers going into craft, it might be craft brewers brewing lighter styles. Could be import brands. There’s a lot of growth out there, just have to figure out how to get it.”