Not surprising, but here it is
In 2020, small and independent brewers (craft brewers) collectively produced 23.1 million barrels of beer and realized a 9% decline, decreasing craft’s overall beer market share by volume to 12.3%, down from 13.6% the previous year. This information comes from the Brewers Association, which today released its annual production report* for the craft brewing industry.
For the first time in the modern craft beer era, craft beer realized a production decline in 2020. At the same time, the number of craft breweries in the nation continued to increase to an all-time high of more than 8,700.
“2020 was obviously a challenging year for many small brewers, but also one that proved their resilient and entrepreneurial nature,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “In a year where U.S. draught sales were down more than 40 percent, small brewers found new ways to connect with their customers and keep their businesses running.”
- The overall beer market (craft and non-craft) dropped 3% by volume in 2020.
- Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.2 billion, representing 23.6% market share and a 22% decline over 2019.
- Craft brewers provided more than 138,000 direct jobs, a 14% decrease from 2019.
Twice as many openings as closings
In spite of all the pitfalls of 2020, the number of craft breweries continued to rise, reaching an all-time high of 8,764. The year saw 716 new breweries open, while 346 closed.
According to the Brewers Association, while openings decreased approximately 30% compared to 2019, only half of this drop is attributed to the pandemic’s impact. Increasing market competitiveness and maturity were also factors, and the decline was apparent before the pandemic.
“While many small breweries will remain under pressure until they can fully reopen and welcome their communities into their breweries, the 2020 closing rate has remained on par with 2019, suggesting that the vast majority of breweries will survive going forward,” added Watson.
*Note: Numbers are preliminary. The Brewers Association will publish the full 2020 industry analysis later this spring.