Brewers association

Steady growth for small independent brewers

The Brewers Association publishes 2016 statistics for the craft category

Boulder, Colorado • March 28, 2017—The Brewers Association (BA) — the trade association representing small and independent1 US Craft Brewers – today released 2016 US craft brewing data2 growth. With more than 5,300 breweries in operation during the year, small independent craft brewers account for 12.3% market share by volume of the entire beer industry.

In 2016, craft brewers produced 24.6 million barrels and saw their volume increase by 6%.3 on a comparable basis and a 10% increase in retail dollar value. Retail dollar value was estimated at $23.5 billion, representing 21.9% market share. Adding 1.4 million barrels, growth for craft brewers exceeded the 1.2 million barrels lost from the craft segment, based on purchases by large brewing companies. Microbreweries and craft breweries generated 90% of the growth of craft brewers.

“Small independent brewers are operating in a new brewing reality still full of opportunity, but in a much more competitive landscape,” said Bart Watson, Chief Economist, Brewers Association. “As the global beer market remains static and the major global brewers lose volume, their strategy has been to focus on acquiring craft brewers. This has been a catalyst for slowing the growth of small independent brewers and jeopardizing consumer access to certain brands. Smaller independent brewers have been able to fill the barrels lost through acquisitions and show steady growth, but at a pace more representative of current industry dynamics. The average brewer is getting smaller and growth is more diffuse within the craft category, with tail producers helping to drive growth across the segment.

Additionally, in 2016, the number of breweries operating in the United States increased by 16.6%, totaling 5,301 breweries, broken down as follows: 3,132 microbreweries, 1,916 breweries, 186 regional craft breweries and 67 large or large breweries. nope. Small independent breweries represent 99% of the breweries in operation. Throughout the year, there were 826 new brewery openings and only 97 closings. Combined with already existing and established breweries and breweries, craft brewers provided nearly 129,000 jobs, an increase of nearly 7,000 from the previous year.

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Note: Figures are preliminary. For additional information from Bart Watson, visit “Breaking Down the Craft Growth Numbers” on the Brewers Association website. A more in-depth analysis will be published during the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America® in Washington, DC from April 10-13. The full 2016 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2017 issue of The new brewerhighlighting regional trends and the production of each brewery.

1An 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.
2Absolute 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.
3Craft brewer volume represents total taxable production.

Abby 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 cup, Great American Oktoberfest®, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®, FLAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Dining Experience, Homebrew Con, 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 and free Brew Guru™ mobile app. follow us on Facebook and 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.