The Brewers Association released their 2016 data on U.S. craft brewing growth, which includes BA defined craft breweries only. These industry growth metrics are getting complicated – and more divergent, as more craft breweries are acquired by larger companies and taken out of the BA-defined statistical pool.
The BA-defined craft brewers still comprise the vast number of actual breweries, with a total of over 5,300 breweries operating last year, comprising a market share of 12.3 percent by volume. That market share is likely close if not slightly over 20% if non-BA defined “craft” breweries such as Ballast Point, Goose Island, Lagunitas, Blue Moon and others are included.
Growth numbers however are most likely similar for both BA-defined craft and non-BA-defined craft. The BA measured a 6% rise in volume on a comparable base and a 10 percent increase in retail dollar value for their members. Retail dollar value was estimated at $23.5 billion, representing 21.9 percent market share. By adding 1.4 million barrels, craft brewer growth outpaced the 1.2 million barrels lost from the craft segment, based on purchases by large brewing companies. Microbreweries and brewpubs delivered 90 percent of the craft brewer growth.
“Small and independent brewers are operating in a new brewing reality still filled with opportunity, but within a much more competitive landscape,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “As the overall beer market remains static and the large global brewers lose volume, their strategy has been to focus on acquiring craft brewers. This has been a catalyst for slower growth for small and independent brewers and endangered consumer access to certain brands. Small and independent brewers were able to fill in the barrels lost to acquisitions and show steady growth but at a rate more reflective of today’s industry dynamics. The average brewer is getting smaller and growth is more diffuse within the craft category, with producers at the tail helping to drive growth for the overall segment.”
The full press release is here.