Brewers association

Small independent brewers continue to grow by double digits

Brewers Association releases annual growth figures for US craft brewers

Boulder, CO • March 22, 2016—The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent1 US Craft Brewers Released 2015 US Craft Brewing Data Today2 growth. With more breweries than ever before, small independent craft brewers now account for 12% market share of the entire beer industry.

In 2015, craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels and saw their volume increase by 13%.3 and a 16% increase in retail dollar value. Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.3 billion, representing 21% market share.

“Over the past decade, craft brewers have entered the market, recording double-digit growth in eight of those years,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “There are still many opportunities and areas for further growth. The focus will remain on quality as small independent brewers will continue to lead the local tasty beer movement. »

Additionally, in 2015, the number of operating breweries in the United States increased by 15%, totaling 4,269 breweries, the highest number ever recorded in American history. Small independent breweries represent 99% of operating breweries, broken down as follows: 2,397 microbreweries, 1,650 breweries and 178 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 620 new brewery openings and only 68 closings. One of the fastest growing regions was the South, where four states – Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas – each saw a net increase of more than 20 breweries, laying a solid foundation for the future growth of the region. Combined with already existing and established breweries and breweries, craft brewers provided nearly 122,000 jobs, an increase of more than 6,000 from the previous year.

“Small independent brewers are a beacon for beer and our economy,” Watson added. “As breweries continue to open and volume increases, there is a strong need for workers to fill a multitude of positions in these growing small businesses.”

To note: The figures are preliminary. The Brewers Association will release the list of the top 50 craft brewing companies and overall brewing companies by sales volume on April 5. In addition, a more in-depth analysis will be published during the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America® in Philadelphia from May 3-6. The full 2015 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2016 issue of The new brewerhighlighting regional trends and the production of each brewery.

1 An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (about 3% of annual sales in the United States). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternate ownership. Independent: less than 25% of the craft brewer is owned or controlled (or an equivalent economic interest) by a member of the beverage alcohol industry who is not themselves a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer whose majority of total beverage alcohol volume comes from beers whose flavor comes from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMB) are not considered beers.
2 Absolute numbers reflect the dynamic data set of craft brewers as specified by the definition of craft brewers. Growth figures are presented on a comparable basis. For the full methodology see the Brewers Association website
3 Craft brewer volume represents total taxable production.


Abby Berman Cohen (on behalf of the Brewers Association), 646.695.7044


About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association is the nonprofit trade association dedicated to America’s small, independent brewers, their beers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents over 70% of the brewing industry and its members make over 99% of the beer brewed in the United States. The BA organizes events, including the beer world cupSM, Great American Oktoberfest®, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®, SAVOUR℠: An American Craft Beer and Dining Experience, AHA National Homebrew Conference, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The new brewer magazine and its Brewers publications is the largest publisher of contemporary brewing literature relevant to today’s craft brewers and home brewers.

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the vibrant world of craft beer at and on homebrewing via BAs American Homebrew Association. follow us on Twitter.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, orientation or marital/family status. The BA complies with the provisions of Executive Order 11246 and relevant rules, regulations and orders of the Secretary of Labor.