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Craft hits double digits

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted March 16, 2015
craft beer statistics infographic
A good year for craft: 2014 in figures. © BA

US craft brewers up market share to 11% by volume, new BA stats reveal.

The US Brewers Association (BA) reports that last year "for the first time ever" the country's craft brewers'1 share of the national beer market by volume hit double figures.

Achieving an 11% market share, US craft brewers, a BA press release reveals, saw their combined production hit some 22.2m barrels (26.5m hl), up 18% on 2013.

Meanwhile, in terms of retail dollar value, their showing jumped 22% to $19.6bn (£13.1bn), giving them a 19.3% market share by value.

"With the total beer market up only 0.5% in 2014, craft brewers are key in keeping the overall industry innovative and growing," says BA chief economist Bart Watson.

"This steady growth shows that craft brewing is part of a profound shift in American beer culture – a shift that will help craft brewers achieve their ambitious goal of 20% market share by 2020."

"Small and independent brewers are deepening their connection to local beer lovers while continuing to create excitement and attract even more appreciators."

At the same time, the number of operating breweries in the US rose 19% last year to a new total of 3,464, with the vast majority, some 3,418 in all, considered craft.

Of these craft breweries, 1,871 were microbreweries; 1,412 brewpubs; and 135 regional craft breweries.

Throughout the year, the BA continues, there were 615 new brewery openings but just 46 closures.

Combined with already existing and established breweries and brew pubs, craft brewers provided 115,469 jobs, "an increase of almost 5,000 from the previous year".

"These small businesses," Watson states, "are one of the bright spots in both our economy and culture."

"Craft brewers are serving their local communities, brewing up jobs and boosting tourism."

"Craft brewers are creating high quality, differentiated beers; new brewers that match this standard will be welcomed in the market with open arms."

The BA cautions that the above figures are preliminary, adding that it will release its list of the Top 50 craft brewing companies and overall brewing companies by volume sales this coming March 31.

Additionally, a more extensive analysis will be announced during the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®, which will be staged in Portland, Oregon this April 14-17.

The BA's full 2014 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2015 issue of The New Brewer, "highlighting regional trends and production by individual breweries".

To see an expanded version of the above infographic, have a click of this.

See also US beer rankings out, posted 31/3/14, and A key to the mysteries, posted 9/3/15.

Ignatius Rake
is a freelance journalist, geographer and world traveller who has visited more than 70 countries on six continents. In 2013, he represented the UK at the Fourth Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship in Toronto, coming an abysmal last and getting his arse royally whipped by Rake & Herald reader and Major League Eating speedscarfing supremo Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut. He has been known to like a pint.


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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