Craft beer sales soar 15%

US Craft Beer Growth[Click to enlarge]

Craft beers sales climbed 15% by volume in 2012, while dollar growth increased 17%, according to figures released by the Brewers Association. The increase amounts to almost 1.8 million more barrels (each of them 31 gallons) of craft beer.

With production at 13,235,917 barrels in 2012, craft brewers reached 6.5% volume of the total U.S. beer market, up from 5.7% the previous year. Additionally, craft dollar share of the total U.S. beer market reached 10.2% in 2012, as retail dollar value from craft brewers was estimated at $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2011.

“Beer is a $99 billion industry to which craft brewers are making a significant contribution, with retail sales share hitting double digits for the first time in 2012,” BA director Paul Gatza said.

The number of operating breweries increased 18% in 2012, reaching 2,403. The count includes 409 new brewery openings and 43 closings.

“On average, we are seeing slightly more than one craft brewery per day opening somewhere in the U.S., and we anticipate even more in the coming year. There is clearly a thirst in the marketplace for craft brewed beer, as indicated by the continued growth year after year,” Gatza said. “These small breweries are doing great things for their local communities, the greater community of craft brewers, our food arts culture and the overall economy.”

The BA numbers are preliminary. A more extensive analysis will be released during the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C. from March 26-29.