CINCINNATI -- American craft beer brewers can raise a toast to great success in 2013, according to the latest industry data.
The Brewers Association -- the trade association that represents small and independent American brewers -- released its preliminary data on production among the industry’s more than 2,800 breweries.
Association officials said craft brewers saw an 18 percent rise in volume last year, representing about 15.6 million barrels and a 20 percent increase in retail dollar value.
Even with that increase in production, the craft industry still only accounts for 7.8 percent of the total U.S. beer market -- and that’s up from 6.5 percent the previous year.
The Brewers Association also said the craft dollar share of the U.S. market reached 14.3 percent in 2013. Officials estimated that value at $14.3 billion, up from $11.9 billion in 2012.
“With this stellar year, craft has now averaged 10.9 percent growth over the last decade. Beer drinkers are excited about what small and independent brewers are offering and that is evidenced by the rising production and sales of the craft segment,” Bart Watson, staff economist, Brewers Association said in a release.
The past year wasn’t just big volume-wise for the industry; it also saw an increase in new breweries. The association said 413 new breweries opened in 2013 and 44 closed.
Combined with existing operations, the association said craft breweries employed more than 110,000 people. That’s an increase of almost 2,000 from 2012.
“Openings of brewing facilities continue to far outpace closings, demonstrating that the demand for high-quality, local, fuller-flavored beers is only increasing. The geographic diversity of openings and production growth shows the national nature of this movement. In towns all across the country, craft brewers are creating jobs, delivering innovative products, advancing the beverage of beer and strengthening their local economies,” Watson said.
Of the 2,822 breweries that were open in 2013, the association considered 2,768 of those to be “craft breweries.”
To be a craft brewer, the association requires that a brewery produce 6 million barrels or less of beer per year. That would account for about 3 percent of annual sales in the U.S. The association also stipulates that a macro brewer or beverage alcohol industry member must not own more than 25 percent of the craft brewery.
Those numbers are only preliminary and a more detailed report will be released on March 31. That data will include the association’s Top 50 craft brewing companies and an overall brewing companies by volume list.