Remember 2019? It seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? But alas, we’re now into the second quarter of 2020, a year none of us will soon forget, and that means it’s time for the Brewers Association to release its annual growth report for the previous year. Likely, next year’s report will look a lot different.
The good news, and we should take it wherever we can find it these days, 2019 was another year of growth for the craft beer industry. Modest growth, sure, but we’ll take it. Incremental, modest growth is a trend that continues for craft beer. At the same time, the beer category overall, which includes the non-craft macro breweries, continues to trend downward. So “those guys” are losing ground while the craft beer segment is gaining ground. That does not include the Fermented Malt Beverage category (Smirnoff, Mike’s Hard, White Claw, etc.), which is its own thing. No doubt, the big beer company’s are finding some traction in that category.
Here is the press release and report from the Brewers Association:
Brewers Association Releases Annual Growth Report for 2019
Boulder, Colo. (April 14, 2020) The Brewers Association (BA)—the trade association representing small and independent¹ American craft brewers—today released annual growth figures for the U.S. craft brewing industry.² In 2019, small and independent brewers collectively produced 26.3 million barrels of beer and realized just under 4% total growth³, increasing craft’s overall beer market share by volume to 13.6%.
Retail dollar value was estimated at $29.3 billion, representing 25.2% market share and 6% growth over 2018. Growth for small and independent brewers occurred in an overall down beer market, which dropped 2% by volume in 2019. Craft brewers provided more than 160,000 direct jobs, an increase of 7% over 2018.
“Small and independent brewers continued to serve as job creators, strong economic contributors, and community beacons in 2019, while craft maintained a fairly stable growth rate in 2019 and continued to gain share in the beer market,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association.
There were 8,275 craft breweries operating in 2019, including 2,058 microbreweries, 3,011 brewpubs, 2,966 taproom breweries, and 240 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 942 new brewery openings and 294 closings.
“Although craft brewers entered 2020 on a solid foundation, the beer landscape is dramatically different today than it was just a few months ago. Breweries will be facing new realities due to the pandemic with extended closures, tight cash flow, societal shifts, and other economic variables in play. These 2019 figures will allow us to see how much COVID-19 affects small brewer production and jobs,” added Watson.
Note: Numbers are preliminary. For additional insights from Bart Watson, visit Insights & Analysis on the Brewers Association website. The full 2019 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2020 issue of The New Brewer, highlighting regional trends and production by individual breweries.
¹An American craft brewer is a small and independent brewer. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3% of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Brewer: Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.
²Absolute figures reflect the dynamic craft brewer data set as specified by the craft brewer definition. Growth numbers are presented on a comparable base. See full methodology.
³Volume by craft brewers represent total taxable production.