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Big jump in craft beer production

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted July 27, 2015
US craft beer volumes jump 16% year-on-year
Craft keeps on growing: US production has more than doubled since 2011. © BA

US craft beer volumes jump 16% year-on-year, BA stats reveal.

New mid-year stats released by the US Brewers Association (BA) show that American craft beer production volumes jumped 16% year-on-year during the first six months of the year.

From January to the end of June 2015, a press release reveals, approximately 12.2m barrels (14.5m hl) of beer were sold by the country's craft brewers1, compared to 10.6m barrels during the first half of 2014.

"Industry growth is occurring in all regions and stemming from a mix of sources, including various retail settings and a variety of unique brewery business models," says BA chief economist Bart Watson.

"The continued growth of small and independent brewers illustrates that additional market opportunities and demand are prevalent, although competition in the sector is certainly growing and the need for brewers to differentiate and produce world-class high-quality beer is more important than ever."

And there's more: The number of producers is also on the rise. © BA

But it's not just production that's on the up.

So too is the number of producers, with the BA revealing that as of this past June 30 there were some 3,739 craft breweries in operation in the States, 699 more than was the case 12 months previously.

Furthermore, a whopping 1,755 new breweries are currently in the pipeline.

Together, the country's craft brewers, the BA continues, employ around 115,500 full-time and part-time staff, "many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the US economy".

"More and more Americans are discovering the joys of enjoying fresh beer produced by their neighbourhood brewery," Watson states.

"By supporting local, small and independent craft breweries, beer lovers are gradually returning the United States to the system of localised beer production that existed for much of our nation's history."

See also US craft exports nudge $100m, posted 24/3/15, and Craft hits double digits, posted 16/3/15.

Ignatius Rake
is a freelance journalist, geographer and world traveller who has visited more than 70 countries on six continents. He has written on numerous subjects for various publications and is available for hire and commissions. He can be contacted by email here.


1) The BA defines an American craft brewer as "small, independent and traditional". It must have an annual production of 6m barrels of beer or below (approximately 3% of US annual sales) and be less than 25% owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. The majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers must also have flavours derived from "traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation". Flavoured malt beverages (FMBs), it says, are not considered beers.

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