Welcome to Craft Beer Week. Cheers! Everyone is throwing a party. Take the country’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributors, for example. They are celebrating the excitement that new, entrepreneurial brewers are bringing to the beer industry and consumers across the country.
“NBWA is proud of the role that independent beer distributors play to help the craft beer industry thrive,” said NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser. “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 this March 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.
More than 3,400 breweries were in operation across the United States in 2014, representing a 19 percent increase 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.
“Craft beer continues to provide a significant contribution to the American beer industry,” Purser said. “This success is due in large part to the effectiveness of the open and 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 added, “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.”