Here's a bit of a head-scratcher: The U.S. Census Bureau put out a news release today (July 1) with the big headline: U.S. Breweries are Booming According to Census Bureau.
Nothing unusual about that, right? But then the Census Bureau goes on to note that the number of U.S. breweries more than doubled — from 398 to 869 — between 2007 and 2012.
Huh? What? Only 869? That can't be right when the Brewers Association and Beer Institute estimate that there are more than 2,800 breweries and the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has recorded more than 3,000 brewery permits.
The Census Bureau is woefully underestimating breweries -- and also brewery employees and beer shipments.
So what gives? Turns out that the Census Bureau didn't count brewpubs.
"The reason is that we categorize industries by the primary business of that establishment," census spokesman Robert Bernstein said in an email. "If, for instance, a restaurant manufactures their own beer, we would classify it as a restaurant because the bulk of their sales would be as a result of their restaurant business; the beer manufacturing would be secondary.
"The trade associations may classify such establishments as breweries. Hence, the trade association ends up with a much larger number of breweries."
To read the full news release, click here.