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Home | News | Craft Brewers | US craft volumes up at HY18

US craft volumes up at HY18

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Up overall, but smaller producers far more robust

Net number of craft brewers sets new record

A survey of its members by the Brewers Association has found that craft beer volumes have risen an estimated 5% during the first half of 2018 – but that this growth was uneven between its larger and smaller members.
Looking at scanned data from places like supermarkets and convenience stores, according to BA chief economist Bart Watson craft brewers producing up to 10,000 barrels enjoyed growth averaging 30.78%. (Although this was tempered by the comparison to 2017, when half-year growth reached 42.80%.)

Against this was the scanned data performance of larger craft brewers. Those more than one million barrels in size were recorded as having 2.47% decline; craft brewers between 100,000 and one million barrels dropped by 1.46%.

Watson noted that the 50 largest breweries in the BA survey reported an average 2% gain, contrasting with the scanned data findings. He argued that this could be because these breweries were growing at a faster rate in on-premise sales, that the scan was missing growth in non-measured off-premise locales, and that the scan could be poorly weighted in terms of brewery sizes.

There was again a record number of craft breweries. The Brewers Association reported that as of June 30th there were 6,655 active breweries, up from 5,562 from the same time period last year.

And there are more breweries on the way. An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 breweries are in planning, a finding based on active Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Watson noted that 2018 is on pace to have the highest number of closures to date, but that the total number of breweries is still a net gain.

He said, “New players looking to enter the space should be aware of the constructs of the current landscape, work to differentiate themselves and will need to make quality beer to succeed.”


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