Yesterday the Brewers Association (BA) — the professional association representing small and independent1 US Craft Brewers – released annual production figures for the US craft brewing industry. 2 In 2020, small independent brewers collectively produced 23.1 million barrels of beer and realized a decline of 9%,3 reducing the overall craft beer market share by volume to 12.3% from 13.6% the previous year.
The overall beer market* fell 3% in volume in 2020. Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.2 billion, representing 23.6% market share and a decline of 22% compared to 2019. Craft brewers provided more than 138,371 direct jobs, down 14% from 2019. .
“2020 has obviously been a tough year for many small brewers, but also a year that has proven their resilient and entrepreneurial nature,” said Bart Watson, Chief Economist, Brewers Association. “In a year where U.S. draft sales fell more than 40%, small brewers found new ways to connect with their customers and keep their businesses going.”
The number of craft breweries in operation continued to grow in 2020, reaching an all-time high of 8,764, including 1,854 microbreweries, 3,219 breweries, 3,471 craft breweries and 220 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 716 new brewery openings and 346 closings. While openings are down about 30% from 2019, only half of that drop is attributed to COVID. The growing competitiveness and maturity of the market were also factors, and the decline was apparent before the pandemic.
“While many small breweries will remain under pressure until they can fully reopen and welcome their communities to their breweries, the 2020 closure rate remained at the same level as 2019, suggesting that the large majority of breweries will survive in the future,” added Watson.
To note: The figures are preliminary. For additional information from Bart Watson, visit Insights and Analysis on the website of the Brewers Association. The full 2020 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2021 issue of The new brewerhighlighting regional trends and the production of each brewery.
* Does not include FMB/FSB. With these included, the total of products taxed as beer increased by 1%.
1An American craft brewer is a small independent brewer. 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. Brewer: Has a TTB brewer rating and makes beer.
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. See the complete methodology.
3 Craft brewer volume represents total taxable production.