The Brewers Association, the trade association that tabulates production
statistics for US breweries, today released 2009 data on the U.S. craft brewing
industry. In a year when other brewers saw a slowdown in sales, small and
independent craft brewers saw sales dollars increase 10.3 percent and volume
increase 7.2 percent2 over 2008, representing a growth of 613,992 barrels equal
to roughly 8.5 million cases.
Overall, U.S. beer sales were down approximately 5 million barrels (31 gallons
per U.S. barrel) in 2009.
“Beer lovers continue to find great value and enjoyment in fuller flavored craft
beers,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “Americans have an
increasing appreciation of craft beers, and the growing number of brewers behind
them. They’re eager to try the latest seasonal release and to sample a variety
of beers from different breweries.”
In 2009, craft brewers represented 4.3 percent of volume and 6.9 percent of
retail dollars for the total U.S. beer category. With the total U.S. beer
industry representing an estimated retail dollar value of $101 billion, the
Brewers Association estimates the actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers
in 2009 was $7 billion, up from $6.3 billion in 2008
The total number of U.S. craft
brewers grew from 1,485 to 1,542 in 2009, and they produced 9,115,635 barrels,
up from 8,501,713 barrels in 2008. Overall U.S. beer sales fell from
approximately 210.4 million barrels to 205.8 million barrels.
The 2009 growth and popularity of beer from small and independent breweries did
not go unnoticed by industry observers. The National Restaurant Association Chef
Survey (see results), for example, cited “locally-produced wine and beer” among
its top five overall trends to watch for in 2010. In the alcohol and cocktails
category, the organization ranked “locally-produced wine and beer” as its top
trend, while “food-beer pairings” came in at number five on the list.