The Brewers Association released sales figures today for the craft beer segment, reporting yet another year of double digit growth. Craft beer again lead all other segments in the beer category.
The BA reports estimated sales by independent craft brewers up 12 percent by volume and 16 percent in dollars for 2007. Craft brewers’ share of the beer category is 3.8 percent of production and 5.9 percent of retail sales.
These figures account for sales by “craft breweries” only. The BA defines a craft brewer is “small, independent, and traditional with annual production less than 2 million barrels.” A key distinction is that “independent” is defined by the BA as “less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.” This means that sales by specialty brewers such as Widmer Brothers Brewing, Redhook Ale Brewery and others which are partially owned by major-brand brewers are not accounted for in the growth numbers.
The BA annually polls the country’s craft brewers to estimate the total volume of beer sold by brewpubs, microbreweries, and regional craft breweries in the United States, and uses scan data to estimate sales. Results show that the U.S. had 1,449 total breweries in operation in the U.S. during 2007, including 1,406 small, independent, and traditional craft brewers . Nearly 70 percent of craft breweries are brewpubs that sell most or all of their beer on-premises.
“Since 2004, dollar sales by craft brewers have increased 58 percent,” said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association. “The strength of this correlates with the American trend of buying local products and a preference for more flavorful foods and beers.”
The Brewers Association estimates the actual dollar sales figures from craft brewers at more than $5.74 billion, up from $4.95 billion in 2006. Sales in barrels equaled 8,011,141 (one barrel is 31 U.S. gallons) up from 7,147,050 barrels in 2006. The 2007 increase totals 864,091 barrels, which is the equivalent of 11.9 million cases or 285 million 12-ounce bottles of beer.