Craft Beer Continues to Brew Growth
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. 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
“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
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
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.
Abby Berman (on behalf of the Brewers Association)