The good news keeps rolling in for craft brewers – and craft beer lovers doing their part to keep them afloat. New industry stats are out for 2014 – released by the Brewers Association - and they show that craft beer’s volume share of the market reached double digits for the first time ever - at 11 percent. Monetary share was even higher – 19.6 billion dollars in retail sales, which accounts for 19.3 percent of the market. Compared to 2014, volume share was up 18 percent and revenue share was up 22 percent. Quite a performance!
And the brewery building boom shows no sign of slowing down either – the number of craft breweries reached 3,418 last year, with 615 new ones opening and only 45 shutting down. The small number of closures is a seemingly sure sign that the industry still has plenty of room for growth without cannibalizing itself. In other words, craft keeps taking new drinkers from the big boys, who are having such a tough time these days that overall beer sales increased last year by only one half of a percentage point.
Brewers Association Chief Economist Bart Watson cites “a profound shift in American beer culture,” which he says will help craft brewers reach an admittedly ambitious goal of 20 percent volume share of the market by 2020.
And this is just the kickoff of the statistics season. Later this month, the Brewers Association will release their list of the 50 top craft brewing companies and other annual reports on the industry will come out in April and May. Meantime, I suggest you keep doing your part to keep the taps flowing and craft beer growing.
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