None of this should come as a surprise, but the craft beer industry continued to grow in the first half of 2015. Sales numbers continue to rise as does the total number of craft breweries operating in the United States (now over 3,700).
Mid-year data just released by the Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American craft brewers—reveals that American craft beer production volume increased 16 percent during the first half of the year. Also, the USA is now home to 3,739 craft breweries. All those beautiful breweries are contributing a lot to America’s economy—more than 115,000 jobs.
From January through the end of June 2015, craft breweries sold approximately 12.2 million barrels of beer, up from 10.6 million barrels during the first half of 2014.
“Industry growth is occurring in all regions and stemming from a mix of sources including various retail settings and a variety of unique brewery business models,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “The continued growth of small and independent brewers illustrates that additional market opportunities and demand are prevalent, although competition in the sector is certainly growing and the need for brewers to differentiate and produce world class high quality beer is more important than ever.”
As of June 30, 2015, 3,739 breweries were operating in the U.S, an increase of 699 breweries over the same time period of the previous year. Additionally, there were 1,755 breweries in planning. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 115,469 full-time and part-time workers, many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.
“More and more Americans are discovering the joys of enjoying fresh beer produced by their neighborhood brewery. By supporting local, small and independent craft breweries, beer lovers are gradually returning the United States to the system of localized beer production that existed for much of our nation’s history,” added Watson.
According to the Brewers Association’s definition, an American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.