Homebrewing continues to grow as a hobby. The fifth annual Homebrew Supply Shop Survey, conducted by the American Homebrewers Association, found that gross revenue at shops across the country increased by an average of 10 percent last year.
The association estimates that there are 1.2 million homebrewers in the U.S.
It seems counter-intuitive that the hobby would be on the rise. The craft beer industry is exploding and there seems to be a brewery — or two — in every community. You also can walk into any bar, restaurant and grocery store and find a wide-ranging selection of craft beers.
Who needs to homebrew?
"I started homebrewing 20 years ago, and back then the main motivation was indeed brewing beer styles that simply were not available commercially," association Director Gary Glass said. "Today, when the majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery and enjoy the greatest selection of beer styles available anywhere in the world, the motivation to homebrew has completely changed."
Now, people are "drawn to the hobby as an outlet for artistic expression. Homebrewers can create totally unique beers that suit their own personal tastes," he added. "Plus homebrew can easily be shared with friends and family, which can help elevate one’s social status as the bringer of beer."
The survey looked at 408 shops in 48 states. Other survey highlights include:
• There was a 24 percent increase in sales of beginner homebrew equipment kits. Beginner kits were most commonly purchased by 30- to 39-year-olds.
• Nearly 11 percent of beer-buying customers are women.
• Median gross revenue for shops rose to $260,000 last year, up from $225,000 the previous year.
• New shops are opening. Thirty-seven percent of respondents had been open for three years or less.
• Sales of beer ingredients outpaced wine ingredients, with an average of 35 percent of retail revenue coming from beer versus 21 percent from wine.
To read the full report, click here.