Craft Continues Growth Spurt

Craft brewers (as defined by the Brewers Association) increased volume by 18 percent during the first half of the year.

That equates to approximately 10.6 million barrels of beer sold by craft brewers, up from 9.0 million barrels over the first half of 2013.

Keep in mind that the BA updated their definition of craft brewer in February of this year. According to the BA in their statement released today, “The 18 percent growth rate is based on the updated craft brewer definition1 and derived from comparable barrel total from the first half of 2013. Mid-year figures first reported in 2013 were based on the previous craft brewer definition.”

No matter how you slice it, craft beer, and full-flavored beer in general continues to take over the American beer culture. Yes, it’s true; the majority of beer consumed in the US is still light Pilsner-style lager. But that percentage continues to decrease year after year. I don’t see that trend reversing. Some markets, most notably Portland OR, Seattle and San Francisco have flirted with a 50% craft market share (depending on how you measure it) and some chain grocery stores are now reporting the majority of their sales as craft. And so, it is not far fetched at all to think that in a not-to-distant future, the majority of beer consumed in the U.S. will be full-flavored “craft” beer.

Another figure that continues to jump out is the number of operating breweries, and “breweries-in-planning” that now exist. According to BA figures, as of June 30, 2014, there were 3,040 breweries were operating in the U.S. and 1,929 breweries in planning.

So it is with no surprise, but never without some amazement, that craft beer continues to grow in very big leaps and bounds.

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