California Craft Beer- 2014 Review

Photo Courtesy Bart Watson- Brewers Association

Photo Courtesy Bart Watson- Brewers Association

As 2014 comes to a close the California Craft Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association representing the small and independent craft brewers in California, looks back at the year of craft beer in the golden state.

 “We have seen year after year of strong craft beer growth both in California and nationally”, said Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association.  “And 2014 has been perhaps the strongest growth year ever for the craft brewing industry here in California.”

California craft brewery count passes 500. In November, California passed the mark of 500 craft breweries, the highest in the nation with an additional 240 breweries in planning. During 2014 the number of operating breweries increased by over 20 percent.

According to the Brewers Association’s chief economist Bart Watson, “2014 proved that craft beer is moving into the mainstream. Consumers are making a conscious choice to buy and try the plethora of options produced by small and independent craft brewers.”

Nationally the number of craft brewery openings continue to grow. In November the United States passed the mark of 3,200 brewers in the country and breweries are opening at a rate of 1.5 per day. In addition, there are more than 2,000 breweries in planning.

California produces more craft beer than any other state, in 2014 approximately 3.4 million barrels of beer have been produced. Sales of craft beer in California are up 20.7% compared to 18% nationally and now account for a 16.8% market share. In addition, California breweries exported 1.2 million barrels of beer last year, that’s more beer than most other states produce. Only Oregon and Pennsylvania produced more than 1.2 million barrels in 2013.

The economic impact California brewers have in the state continues to grow, California breweries contributed $ 5.5 billion to the California economy in 2013 inclusive of all goods and services both directly and indirectly.

Other noteworthy trends in 2014 were the continued popularity of India Pale Ales (IPAs) and the diversity of craft beer consumers.

According to retail scan data, IPA is up 47 percent by volume and 49 percent by dollar sales, accounting for 21 percent volume share of craft and 23 percent dollar share of off-premise beer sales.

Craft beer consumers are growing as data indicates that 38 percent of households bought a craft beer in the last year versus 29 percent in 2010. More women are consuming craft beer at almost 32 percent of craft beer volume, almost half of which comes from women ages 21-34.