Craft Beer Hits Double-Digit Market Share for the First Time in the US
Even if you haven’t been paying attention to the craft beer market, you’ve undoubtedly noticed more and more new names showing up in your local grocery store or bottle shop. Names like Left Hand, Stone Brewing, Southern Tier and Founders are joining more familiar ones like Sam Adams, Anchor Brewing and the like. Craft beer has seen incredible growth in the past few years, and 2014 marked a real milestone. The industry made up 11% of the total beer market in the US, reaching double digits for the first time ever.
Growth to 11% might not sound that impressive if you’re not familiar with the numbers from preceding years. For instance, in 2010, craft beer only made up 5% of the total US beer market. By 2011, that number had crept to just 5.7% and then 6.5% in 2012. It jumped to 7.8% in 2013, and then exploded in 2014.
Growing Production and New Breweries
There are quite a few different factors underpinning that growth in market share, but two of the most important to understand are the growth in volume and the growth in the number of breweries operating in the country. In 2014, the craft segment grew by 18%, while the industry as a whole only grew by 0.5%. In 2013, there were 15.6 million barrels of beer produced by craft breweries. In 2014, that number skyrocketed to 22.2 million barrels (one barrel holds 31 gallons).
In terms of actual breweries, 2014 saw the number jump to 3,464, which was a 19% increase over 2013 (an amazing surge, and one that’s showing no sign of abating). That number is made up of 1,412 brewpubs, 135 regional craft breweries, and 1,871 microbreweries. For comparison’s sake, consider the fact that there were only 1,521 craft breweries in the entire country in 2008. Even in 2011, there were fewer than 2,000.
The Impact on the Nation
If you think that the rise of craft beer really only affects your selection at the bottle shop or grocery store, it’s time to take another look at what’s going on here. Nationwide, the craft beer segment employs 115,469 people, which is up by 4.3% from 2013 figures. In terms of revenue, the industry saw 22% growth, or $19.6 billion (yes, that’s BILLION), given the segment 19.3% dollar share in the market. Not only does the craft industry boost employment, but it has had a significant effect on tourism at both the national and the state level.
Prime examples of this are Colorado, which has perhaps the single largest concentration of craft breweries in the country, followed by North Carolina and Virginia. Virginia’s “Craft Beer Trail” is similar to the wine trails that many states offer, giving tourists a chance to visit and explore craft breweries located throughout the state, and generating money for many other businesses (travelers add income to the food service industry, hospitality/hotel industry, and even the convenience store/gas station sector).
The goal of the craft beer industry is to command 20% of the US market by 2020, and by all accounts, they’re well on their way.
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