5% may not seem like much overall but I believe it’s the first time that total volume of craft beer sold in the US market has “officially” reached that high. This is from the Brewers Association report for 2011. And while that 5% is an impressive number, it still leaves plenty of room for growth, and the growth numbers reported by the BA bear that statement out (are even more impressive):
Craft brewers saw volume rise 13 percent, with a 15 percent increase in retail sales from 2010 to 2011, representing a total barrel increase of 1.3 million.
In 2011, craft brewers represented 5.68 percent of volume of the U.S. beer market, up from 4.97 in 2010, with production reaching 11,468,152 barrels. Additionally, the BA estimates the actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2011 was $8.7 billion, up from $7.6 billion in 2010. Increased retails sales represented 9.1 percent of the $95.5 billion dollar U.S. beer market.
And as Jeff notes, the Brewers Association isn’t even including every craft brewer (like the Craft Brew Alliance which is Widmer, Kona, and Red Hook which to my mind are definitely craft brewers) so these numbers—including that 5%—are probably even higher. And this at a time when overall beer volume dropped 1.32%—which really means that “Big Beer” volume dropped.
There were some closings in 2011: 37 of them. But there were 250 new breweries opened, with an overall BA count of 1989 breweries in 2011. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve already broken 2000 for 2012; here in Central Oregon there are two opening this year (Crux Fermentation Project and Sunriver Brewing) and one already brewing (The Ale Apothecary).
Nowhere to go but up!