Craft beer sales up 4.2%

Small brewers' growth best in three years

Mar 23, 2001 - Craft beer growth sales were the best in three years in 2000, increasing 4.2% compared to 1.9% growth in 1999. Figures compiled by the Institute for Brewing Studies indicate total barrels sold were up 235,000 for the year, to 5.9 million barrels. Craft brewing's share of the total U.S. beer market remained at 3%.


"Freshly brewed, flavorful, local beers are indeed here to stay," said David Edgar, director of the IBS. "More brewers today say they are truly optimistic, rather than 'cautiously' so, which is what we heard at the end of 1999. Yet this renewed 2001-style gusto is a more experienced, pragmatic, and healthier confidence than the mid-1990s-style hubris."

The combined volume of beer sold by microbreweries and regional specialty breweries increased by 210,000 barrels, bringing their total volume to just under 3.8 million barrels. Among reporting regional specialty brewers, sales increased by an average of 8.7% per company. Among reporting microbreweries in business for more than two calendar years, sales increased an average 6.9% per company.

Among those breweries that rebounded strongly were Redhook Ale Brewery and Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., which both grew 8% in 2000 following three years of decline. Oregon's Full Sail Brewing Co. posted 4% growth after sliding each of the previous three years.

Overall, 21 of the top 50 domestic specialty brewing companies grew by double digits in 2000. The contract-brewing-company segment of the industry also bounced back in 2000 due to a rebound from segment leader Boston Beer Co. The brewer of Samuel Adams beers grew 6% in 2000 with a net gain of 70,000 barrels.

Top 21 Fastest-Growing Craft Brewers in 2000

Company 2000 % change
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.498,986     +14
New Belgium Brewing Co.165,000    +12
Deschutes Brewery95,000     +10
Alaskan Brewing Co.81,300    +16
Harpoon Brewery63,100     +18
Gordon Biersch Brewing Co.60,237    +13
  (packaging brewery only)
Boulevard Brewing Co.46,060    +17
Brooklyn Brewery35,100    +10
BridgePort Brewing Co.30,720    +17
Hops (74 brewpubs)27,387    +18
Gordon Biersch (25 brewpubs)26,502    +17
Kalamazoo Brewing Co.24,600    +16
Otter Creek Brewing Co.24,500    +10
Rogue Ales23,687    +31
Odell Brewing Co.20,592    +12
SLO Brewing Co.20,600    +56
Mac and Jack's Brewery20,163    +26
Anderson Valley Brewing Co.17,737    +10
Lagunitas Brewing Co.17,099    +16
Ram/Big Horn Brewery (20 brewpubs)16,306    +18
Big Sky Brewing Co.15,741  +121

Compiled by the Institute for Brewing Studies from data provided primarily

by brewers.

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