Business just keeps booming for craft brewers. The Brewers Association reported today (March 17) that the craft industry saw an 18 percent increase in volume and 20 percent jump in retail dollar sales last year.
Meanwhile, the craft segment controlled 7.8 percent of the total U.S. beer market by volume in 2013, up from 6.5 percent the previous year, the trade group said. The retail dollar share rose to 14.3 percent and totaled $14.3 billion, up from $11.9 billion in 2012.
“With this stellar year, craft has now averaged 10.9 percent growth over the last decade,” Brewers Association economist Bart Watson said in a prepared statement. “Beer drinkers are excited about what small and independent brewers are offering and that is evidenced by the rising production and sales of the craft segment.”
Earlier this year, the Boulder, Colo.-based association changed the definition of a "craft brewer" -- a move that allows breweries such as D.G. Yuengling and Son to be defined as a craft brewer. But the group also said at the time that the change wouldn't be reflected in the 2013 statistics that were released today.
The association also reported that the number of breweries in the U.S. last year hit 2,822, with 2,768 of those considered craft. The count includes 413 new breweries opening and 44 closing. The group estimated that provided 110,273 jobs, an increase of almost 2,000 from the previous year.
“Openings of brewing facilities continue to far outpace closings, demonstrating that the demand for high-quality, local, fuller-flavored beers is only increasing,” Watson said. “The geographic diversity of openings and production growth shows the national nature of this movement. In towns all across the country, craft brewers are creating jobs, delivering innovative products, advancing the beverage of beer and strengthening their local economies.”
The association plans to release its annual list of the top 50 craft brewers by volume on March 31.