The Brewers Association looks back on a year marked by both recovery and healing, as well as new challenges and disruptions
Boulder, Colorado.—With 2022 on the horizon, the Brewers Association (BA) takes a look back at a year filled with new growth, economic relief, supply chain disruption and innovation.
In 2021, the sales tide has returned to breweries, bars and restaurants, and many craft brewers have started to see the way back to their old production volumes, if not new growth. Despite the pandemic, more than 9,000 breweries were operating in the United States in 2021, a 6% increase from 2020. Increased brewery presence is having a positive impact on the community – in 2020, small independent American craft brewers contributed $62.1 billion to the US economy. The industry also provided over 400,000 jobs in total, with almost 140,000 jobs directly in breweries and breweries, including brewery service staff.
Despite disruptions such as weather, labor shortages, manufacturing delays, etc., craft brewers have overcome obstacles and shown resilience. Many breweries have been nimble and turned to packaging their product to generate much-needed revenue when their main sales channels – tasting rooms, breweries, bars and restaurants – have disappeared during the pandemic. Additionally, breweries demonstrated innovation in styles and flavors, and craft as a category continued to fill the innovation pipeline with new beers to return to pre-pandemic growth levels. .
Disruptions are not just happening to craft brewers, but also to consumers; America’s alcohol consumer is increasingly diverse and female, and female drinkers under 25 now outnumber male drinkers under 25. This shift is likely to continue, and the Brewers Association is working to create resources to help diversify the craft brewing community.
“Coming out of a tough year, small independent breweries persevered and found new ways to innovate in a changing environment and evolving consumer preferences and expectations,” said Bob Pease, President and CEO of the leadership of the Brewers Association. “The ability of craft brewers to take risks, innovate flavor, and build better communities has made the United States the craft beer capital of the world, and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring. will bring to brewers and beer lovers.”
This year, supporting small brewers went beyond showing up in neighborhood tasting rooms, breweries, restaurants and bars. In March 2021, the US Rescue Plan Act created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) – a $28.6 billion relief effort that provided grants to hospitality businesses. The original legislation did not mention breweries as eligible for subsidies, but the Brewers Association fought hard to ensure that breweries would be included in the RESTAURANTS Act. Through the BA’s efforts, approximately 1,600 breweries have received more than $450 million in grants, and the association continues to advocate for full funding at the federal level. From fighting for tougher antitrust enforcement by federal competition authorities, to helping pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act to save brewers more than $80 million each year in federal excise taxes, to advocate for the adoption of the USPS Shipping Fairness Actthe fight for small brewers continues.
“Government assistance has helped offset some of the economic damage caused in 2020, and the BA will continue to ensure that the voices of small, independent brewers are heard by federal agencies. Aid must be distributed equally to protect and expand market access and ensure competition in the beer market,” said Bart Watson, Chief Economist, Brewers Association. “There is still work to rebuild growth and improve the industry for 2022, but 2021 has shown progress on this path.”
Based on lessons from 2021, the Brewers Association expects that in 2022:
- Comparable craft production will once again exceed 2019 levels.
- On-site sales will improve, but the draft still won’t return to 2019 levels.
- At the brewery, sales will reach historic highs.
- The number of breweries in operation will continue to increase, but at a lower rate than in previous years.
- Inflation will be felt: rising brewing and manufacturing costs will drive up average beer prices over the past few years.
Check out the full 2021 Year in Beer report.
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the nonprofit trade association dedicated to America’s small, independent brewers, their beers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents more than 5,600 American breweries. The BA Independent Craft Brewer Seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers from small independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the beer world cup®, Great American Oktoberfest®, Craft Brewers Conference® & 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® magazines, and Brewers publications® is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the United States. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the vibrant world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com® and on homebrewing via BAs American Homebrew Association® and free Brewing Guru® mobile app. follow us on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.
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 13672 and relevant rules, regulations and orders of the Secretary of Labor.