BOULDER, Colo. -- The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent American brewers, has released 2012 data on U.S. craft brewing growth. In a year when the total U.S. beer market grew by 1%, craft brewers saw a 15% rise in volume (total taxable production) and a 17% 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% volume of the total U.S. beer market, up from 5.7% the previous year. Additionally, craft dollar share of the total U.S. beer market reached 10.2% in 2012, as retail dollar value from craft brewers was estimated at $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2011.
Click here to view larger version of the infographic."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, of the BA. "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% increase in the number of U.S. operating breweries, with the total count reaching 2,403. The 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," said 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."
These numbers are preliminary, and a more extensive analysis will be released during the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington 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.
The BA's definition of a craft brewer is an American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small means annual production of beer less than six 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 means less than 25% 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 means 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% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.
The BA is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. It represents more than 70% of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99% of the beer brewed in the United States. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience and American Craft Beer Week. It publishes The New Brewer magazine and its brewers publications division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today's craft brewers and homebrewers.