Brewers association

Brewers Association Craft Beer Year in Review 2016

A big year for small beers

Boulder, ColoradoDecember 5, 2016—Reflecting on the significant impact of small independent craft breweries in 2016, the Brewers Association, the nonprofit trade association dedicated to small independent American brewers, reflected on the defining moments of beer in 2016.

“In the face of many opportunities and challenges in 2016, small independent craft brewers continue to thrive,” said Bart Watson, Chief Economist, Brewers Association. “This community should be very proud of what it has accomplished and how far it has come.”


To note in 2016:

  • Number of breweries: Five thousand strong and growing, there are now 5,005 breweries in the United States compared to 10,000 wineries. Almost all (99%) are small independent craft brewers.
  • Continued segment growth: Mid-year, small independent breweries grew 8%, reflecting momentum and a bright spot for the domestic beer market.
  • Never go out of style: IPAs continue to increase, now accounting for around a quarter of crafting volume. More accessible styles, including golden ales, pilseners and pale lagers, were up 33%, totaling nearly 5% of the craft.
  • Freedom of choice: As the world’s two largest brewers merged into a multinational conglomerate two and a half times the size of the US beer market, the BA was at the center of the discussion, advocating for fair competition for the country’s small independent craft brewers. and market access. ensuring that beer lovers can continue to choose from a wide variety of options. About 65% of craft beer enthusiasts said they drink more craft beers specifically because they offer more variety.
  • Impact of home brewing: The National Homebrew Competition continues to be the largest beer competition in the world with 7,962 entries. A recent measurement of home brew found that its 1.2 million participants created more than 11,000 jobs, resulting in more than $1 billion in expenses and more than $700 million in revenue.
  • Beer destinations: Recognizing a growing interest in beer tourism, Travelocity enlisted the expertise of the BA to find the country’s top beer destinations and create the first-ever Beer Tourism Index. Additionally, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) – the leading homebrewing community – has unveiled a list of cities across the United States where homebrewing is on the rise.
  • American craft beer abounds abroad: Craft beer export volume increased by 16.3%, totaling 446,151 barrels and worth $116 million. More than 100 small, independent craft brewers export their beer internationally, spreading the craft beer culture and community and growing recognition and respect for American brewers.
  • Bipartisan support for beer: With a craft brewery in nearly every congressional district across the country, more than half of the US Congress now supports the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The BA has been a key player in advancing this bipartisan legislation that aims to recalibrate the current federal excise tax structure for brewers nationwide and reform the binding laws governing the US brewing industry.
  • History has its eyes on beer: With support from the Brewers Association, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has announced that it will launch a three-year initiative to collect, document and preserve the history of brewing, craft brewers and the brewing industry. beer in America. The job posting for a historian to study the history of brewing has been one of the most viral beer stories of the year, an indicator of people’s interest in this vital industry.
  • Perfect pair: Beer and food continue to find harmony on plates and palates. Seventy-three percent of craft beer shoppers listed “complements my meal” as a very or somewhat important selection criterion when choosing beer when dining out. Sixty-three percent select beer based on the food or meal they plan to enjoy.

“This year has been exponentially exciting as the beer community continues to grow and evolve. It’s amazing to see local brewers innovating and validating the new way the world views the beer scene in the United States,” said Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program Manager, Brewers Association. “Much of the dialogue in 2016 focused on the definition of the craft brewer, who qualifies as a small independent brewer, what independence means to beer lovers, the quality of beer and the appreciation of We will renew our efforts in 2017 on behalf of our members and beer drinkers everywhere and continue to advance the amazing beverage that is beer.

To note: The figures are a compilation of data provided by the Brewers Association, IRI Group and Nielsen and do not represent all craft beer sales. The Brewers Association will release a comprehensive annual analysis of craft brewer production in March 2017.

Contact: 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.