Craft breweries see modest, continued growth in 2018


In 2018 America’s small and independent breweries (craft breweries) realized 4 percent total growth, increasing craft’s overall market share to 13.2 percent by volume. Collectively, the country’s craft breweries produced 25.9 million barrels of beer last year. This information comes from the Brewers Association, which just released its annual industry growth report.

The retail dollar value was estimated at $27.6 billion, representing 24.1 percent market share and 7 percent growth over 2017. Craft brewers provided more than 150,000 jobs, an increase of 11 percent over 2017. This growth comes at a time when the overall beer market experienced a  1 percent drop in volume. That is, overall the beer market was down, but craft beer was up.


“Craft maintained a fairly stable growth rate in 2018 and continued to gain share in the beer market,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Small and independent brewers continue to serve as job creators, strong economic contributors, and community beacons.”

There were 7,346 craft breweries operating in 2018. The Brewers Association classifies craft breweries in three categories: 4,521 microbreweries, 2,594 brewpubs, and 231 regional craft breweries. Last year, 1,049 new breweries opened and 219 closed—a closing rate of 3 percent.


“The beer landscape is facing new realities with category competition, societal shifts, and other variables in play. There are still pockets of opportunity both in terms of geography and business model, but brewers need to be vigilant about quality, differentiation, and customer service,” added Watson.

Read more about this report and the Brewers Association.



  1. How would that growth look if you removed Yuengling, Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada from the totals?

    (They don’t break it down that way so there’s no way to know for sure, but Sam Adams alone increased revenue by $130 million and production by 600,000 barrels in 2018. The others aren’t publicly traded so they don’t disclose figures.)

  2. I wasn’t aware Boston Beer Co experienced that kind of growth trajectory. Actually, I was under the impression that those larger, legacy craft breweries were moving in the opposite direction.

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