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Home » Beer 101

Craft beer growth means more destinations for road trippers

Submitted by on March 18, 2013 – 12:23 pmNo Comment

Road Trips for Beer logoLet’s say you wanted to plan a Road Trip for Beer in which you would visit each brewery in the United States, and for the sake of this exercise, at the pace of one brewery per day. How much time would you need to allot to this hypothetical journey?

According to numbers for 2012 released today by the Brewers Association, the trade group that represents small and independent American brewers, you would need to put aside 6.4 years for that road trip, and that’s not counting the 56 large breweries that the group does not consider “craft.”

But wait. According to the numbers, 409 breweries opened last year and only 43 closed. So that adds another year or so to your trip, and if that pace were to continue, you would have to add at least six more years for the breweries that opened during your initial voyage, then the ones that opened during that time and then … . I think you see where this is going.

Your brewery trip would be a never-ending voyage. Not that there would be anything wrong with that.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the resources, financial and otherwise, to take such a potentially lifelong journey. But the good news is that with such growth in the industry, we’ll have more and more destinations for our personal road trips for beer.

And that’s worth lifting a pint for a toast.

You can read the BA release after the graphic. Click on it for a larger view.

small brewery growth

BA logoBoulder, CO March 18, 2013— The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent American brewers, today released 2012 data on U.S. craft brewing1 growth. In a year when the total U.S. beer market grew by one percent, craft brewers saw a 15 percent rise in volume2 and a 17 percent increase in dollar growth, representing a total barrel increase of almost 1.8 million.

With production at 13,235,917 barrels in 2012, craft brewers reached 6.5 percent volume of the total U.S. beer market, up from 5.7 percent the previous year. Additionally, craft dollar share of the total U.S. beer market reached 10.2 percent in 2012, as retail dollar value from craft brewers was estimated at $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2011.

“Beer is a $99 billion industry to which craft brewers are making a significant contribution, with retail sales share hitting double digits for the first time in 2012,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “Small and independent brewers are consistently innovating and producing high quality, flavor-forward craft brewed beer. Americans are not only responding to greater access to these products, but also to the stories and people behind them.”

In 2012, there was an 18 percent increase in the number of U.S. operating breweries, with the total count reaching 2,403. This count includes 409 new brewery openings and only 43 closings. Small breweries created an estimated 4,857 more jobs during the year, employing 108,440 workers, compared to 103,583 the year prior.

“On average, we are seeing slightly more than one craft brewery per day opening somewhere in the U.S. and we anticipate even more in the coming year. There is clearly a thirst in the marketplace for craft brewed beer, as indicated by the continued growth year after year,” added Gatza. “These small breweries are doing great things for their local communities, the greater community of craft brewers, our food arts culture and the overall economy.”

Note: Numbers are preliminary. A more extensive analysis will be released during the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C. from March 26-29. The full 2012 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2013 issue of The New Brewer, highlighting regional trends and sales by individual breweries.

¹The definition of a craft brewer as stated by the Brewers Association: An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Small: Annual production of beer less than 6 million barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50 percent of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.
² Volume by craft brewers represent total taxable production.

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