The Brewers Association (BA) — the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers — reported that the American craft beer industry set a new record for exports in 2012. Based on results from a recently-completed industry survey, craft beer export volume increased by an astounding 72 percent compared to 2011, with a value estimated at $49.1 million.
Canada remained the industry’s largest export market, with shipments increasing 140 percent by volume (up to 68,180 barrels) in 2012. Significant gains have been made in Ontario and British Columbia, and American craft beers are now gaining distribution in other provinces.
Sweden and the United Kingdom remained the next two largest markets. Though total exports decreased in both countries compared to 2011, the decline was offset by increased shipments to other European markets. In total, Western Europe accounted for 56,204 barrels valued at $14.6 million in 2012, a 5.6 percent increase over 2011.
Elsewhere, American craft beer exports to the Asia-Pacific region increased substantially. Shipments to Japan jumped 57 percent by volume and American breweries made strong gains in Australia, China, Hong Kong and emerging markets such as Thailand, Japan, Australia and China are now the industry’s fourth, fifth and sixth largest export markets, respectively.
“The BA is very pleased with the continued growth in exports of American craft beer to markets around the world. Consumers continue to view American craft brewers as leaders in innovation and among the standard bearers for quality. Maintaining that perception is a priority for the craft brewing community,” said Bob Pease, chief operating officer, Brewers Association.
The BA supports exports through its Export Development Program which was initiated in 2004 with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Market Access Program (USDA MAP). The Export Development Program generates exposure for American craft beer through trade shows, festivals, seminars, media outreach and competitions, among other activities.
“Each year the EDP makes considerable progress in accomplishing the BA’s goals,” added Brett Joyce, Rogue Ales, chair of the BA’s Export Development Program committee. “Since its inception, we have worked to not only increase distribution, but educate international markets about the quality and diversity of products offered by American craft brewers. The results of our efforts in the international community have been extremely rewarding.”