CRAFT BEER CONTINUES TO BOOM
Kudos to craft beer. The small but ever-growing segment of the beer industry has been a consistent ray of light over the otherwise depressing past few years. And this year is no exception. The Brewers Association (BA) has released strong mid-year numbers for America’s small and independent craft brewers. Dollar sales were up 14 percent in the first half of 2O12, while volume of craft brewed beer sold jumped 12 percent during that same time period. Barrels sold by craft brewers for the first six months of 2O12 are an estimated 6 million barrels. Despite a number of challenges, including decreased overall beer sales, the mid-year numbers show signs of continued growth for craft breweries. The industry currently provides an estimated 1O4,OOO full-time and part-time jobs, contributing significantly to the US economy.
“Generally, most craft brewers are continuing to see strong growth in production, sales, brewing capacity and employment, which is to be celebrated during challenged times for many of today’s small businesses,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “Plus it’s a fact that beer drinkers are responding to the quality and diversity created by small American brewing companies. India pale ales, seasonal beers, Belgian-inspired ales and a range of specialty beers are just a few of the beer styles that are growing rapidly.”
The US now boasts 2126 breweries – an increase of 35O additional breweries since June 2O11. The BA also tracks breweries in planning as an indicator of potential new entrants into the craft category, and lists 1252 breweries in planning today compared to 725 a year ago. Additionally, the count of craft brewers was at 2O75 as of June 3O, showing that 97 percent of US brewers are craft brewers. “Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended for the beverage of moderation,” Gatza added. “There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country.”