US craft breweries increase volume, grow in numbers in first half of 2014

CINCINNATI -- You could be forgiven if every time you turn around it seems like there is more and more craft beer on the shelves at your favorite grocery store or on tap at restaurants.

The development isn’t just happening in Cincinnati but across the entire nation.

craft volume increase

According to the Brewers Association – the industry’s trade association – American craft beer production volume increased 18 percent during the first half of the year.

The group said that from January through the end of June 2014, craft brewers sold about 10.6 million barrels of beer. That’s up from about 9 million from the first half of 2013.

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“The sustained double-digit growth of the craft category shows the solidity of demand for fuller flavored beer in a variety of styles from small and independent American producers,” Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson said via a release. “Craft brewers are providing world-class, innovative products that continue to excite beer lovers and energize the industry.”

It’s not just the selection that’s growing either. As of the end of the first half of the year, 3,040 breweries were operating in the U.S.

The Brewers Association said 99 percent of those were small and independent craft breweries. The group said more 1,900 breweries are in the planning stages as well.

number of craft brewers

“Coupled with the continued rise in the number of breweries, the market growth of craft brewers highlights the ongoing localization of beer production in the United States,” Watson said via the release. “More and more, people are enjoying the products from America’s small and independent brewers, making this country a true destination for beer.”

The group said craft brewers employee more than 110,000 people nationwide.

Meanwhile, Budweiser brewer AB InBev SA, the world's largest beer maker, says sales and underlying earnings grew in the second quarter, with 7.2 percent growth in Brazil, thanks in part to the World Cup, and it sees an improving economic outlook in the U.S.

But net profit fell sharply because last year's second quarter earnings included a one-off book gain of $6.42 billion as InBev reappraised the value of its Grupo Modelo subsidiary, which makes Corona.

Net profit was $2.81 billion, down from $7.56 billion in the same period a year ago, the Leuven, Belgium-based company said Thursday.

Revenues rose 15 percent to $12.2 billion, or 5 percent comparing business owned in both periods. Volumes of beer sold rose 1 percent and selling prices increased around 4 percent globally.

REPORTER’S NOTE: The Brewers Association listed its definition of terms as:

An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

For the latest Cincinnati beer news and entertainment, go to wcpo.com/beer or follow Jesse on Twitter at @wcpojesse .

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