American Craft Beer Exports Rise Significantly in 2011

Due in large part to Canada’s enduring love of beer, American craft beer exports increased significantly last year. For the ninth consecutive year, the Brewers Association (BA) is reporting that American craft beer exports are on the rise. In 2011, the increase was dramatic: 86 percent by volume and 97 percent by dollars over 2010 exports.

Craft beer exports increased across the board in 2011, but shipments to Canada rose a whopping 127 percent over the previous year. We shipped more than 27,000 barrels to our thirsty northern neighbors last year. Other top customers for our product include the United Kingdom and Sweden, the next two largest markets. American craft brewers exported approximately 13,065 barrels to those two countries alone. Regionally, Western Europe is the largest customer. Even emerging markets like Brazil and India are getting in on the American craft beer action.

While these numbers are encouraging, there is still plenty of room for growth in non-domestic markets. At first blush, the numbers sound quite large: America exported more than 110,000 barrels of craft beer in 2011. If you think about it, and if you are accustomed to talking about beer in those kinds of quantities, that number could be a lot bigger. Still, growth is good. And so is American craft beer.

Press release from the Brewers Association:

American Craft Beer Exports Increase 86 Percent in 2011

Significant growth experienced in all major regional markets

Boulder, CO • April 10, 2012—Based on results from a recently-completed industry survey, the Brewers Association (BA) reports record exports of American craft beer in 2011, and for the ninth consecutive year*. American craft breweries exported over 110,000 barrels of beer in 2011, valued at an estimated $23.4 million—a dramatic increase of 86 percent by volume and 97 percent by dollars over 2010 exports.

Canada remained the industry’s largest export market, with shipments increasing 127 percent by volume (up to 27,976 barrels) in 2011, largely as a result of increased demand in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

Additionally, the United Kingdom and Sweden remained the next two largest markets. Exports to both countries totaled approximately 13,065 barrels. Regionally, Western Europe is the largest destination for American craft beer exports. Shipments to the region increased by 52 percent in 2011 and now surpass 51,613 barrels.

“The growth in international sales is remarkable in light of the lingering global economic recession. Despite decreasing purchasing power, consumer demand for American craft beers has remained strong and importers have continued to expand their portfolios of American craft beer brands, even in emerging markets, like Brazil and India,” said Bob Pease, chief operating officer, Brewers Association. “These export figures speak for themselves. They are a testament to the innovation of small, independent American craft brewers and their focus on creating products of value to the consumer.”

Total American craft beer exports are up by approximately 500 percent since the BA Export Development Program was initiated in 2004 with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Market Access Program (USDA MAP).

In the U.S., small and independent brewers employ nearly 100,000 full- and part-time employees, generate more than $3 billion in wages and benefits, and pay more than $2.3 billion in business, personal and consumption taxes. These brewers operate vital small businesses in communities across the country.

*representing all years for which data has been collected


About the Brewers Association:

The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S.

For more information about the Brewers Association, visit the website.