The U.S. craft beer industry added 826 new breweries last year, bringing the total to 5,301, the Brewers Association announced Tuesday.
Craft brewers saw production volume increase by 6 percent to 24.6 million barrels and retail dollar value climb by 10 percent to $23.5 billion, the Boulder, Colo.-based trade group added in its annual statistical report. The craft industry posted gains, even with large brewers buying up smaller craft operations.
Craft brewers hold 12.3 percent market share by volume of the overall beer industry, while the retail dollar value represented 21.9 percent of market share.
“Small and independent brewers are operating in a new brewing reality still filled with opportunity, but within a much more competitive landscape,” Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson said in a prepared statement. “As the overall beer market remains static and the large global brewers lose volume, their strategy has been to focus on acquiring craft brewers. This has been a catalyst for slower growth for small and independent brewers and endangered consumer access to certain brands. Small and independent brewers were able to fill in the barrels lost to acquisitions and show steady growth but at a rate more reflective of today’s industry dynamics. The average brewer is getting smaller and growth is more diffuse within the craft category, with producers at the tail helping to drive growth for the overall segment.”
Despite the continued growth, the industry did see 97 craft breweries close last year.
The association reported that there are 3,132 microbreweries, 1,916 brewpubs, 186 regional craft breweries and 67 large or non-craft brewers. Craft brewers provided nearly 129,000 jobs, an increase of nearly 7,000, the group said.