A BOOST for CRAFT BREWS
SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT. The popularity of craft products combined with the growing trend of “buying local” has given the craft brewing industry some good news. The Brewers Association has announced that today’s small independent craft brewers are gaining alcohol market share due to a shift toward full flavor beer and increased support for local breweries. From 2OO7 to 2OO8 estimated sales by craft brewers were up 5.8 percent by volume and 1O.5 percent in dollars. Overall share of the beer category from craft brewers was 4 percent of production and 6.3 percent of retail sales. More than 1 million new barrels of beer were sold in 2OO8, and close to half of those barrels were beer from craft brewers. “2OO8 was a historic year for beer with the large brewers consolidating and imports losing share, while the top ten selling beer brands dropped in sales. At the same time, small independent craft brewers continued to gain share and attention,” said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association. With total US beer being more than a $1OO billion industry, the Brewers Association estimates the actual dollar sales from craft brewers in 2OO8 were $6.34 billion, up from $5.74 billion in 2OO7. Taxable barrels of the total beer category was 1,21O,O18 more in 2OO8 with craft brewers producing 473,364 of those barrels. Total craft brewer barrels for 2OO8 was 8,596,971, up from 8,123,6O7 barrels in 2OO7.
These increases in share and barrels for craft brewers come at a time when, according to the Brewers Association, the cost of operating a small brewery increased over 39 percent in the period of November 2OO7 to November 2OO8. The Brewers Association has noted that craft brewers face many challenges including: Access to ingredients and raw materials; increased pricing for materials and supplies and access to market (competition for shelf space at the retail level). The Association’s full 2OO8 indust