The steady and sustained growth of American craft brewing continued during the first half of 2013, according to mid-year data released by the Brewers Association. The not-for-profit trade association, which represents the majority of U.S. breweries, announced that during the first six months of 2013, American craft beer dollar sales and volume were up 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Over the same period last year, dollar sales jumped 14 percent and volume increased 12 percent.
During the first half of 2013, approximately 7.3 million barrels of beer were sold by small and independent craft brewers, up from 6.4 million barrels over the first half of 2012. American craft beer continues to grow despite decreased overall beer sales, which were down two percent through the first six months of the year.
“Demand for beer produced by small and independent brewers has never been higher, as evidenced by increased production and the hundreds of new breweries joining the playing field each year,” says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “Beer drinkers nationwide are responding positively to high-quality, full-flavored, diverse offerings from American craft brewing companies that continue to innovate and push the envelope.”
There are 2,538 breweries operating in the U.S. as of June 30, an increase of 446 breweries since June 2012. The Brewers Association also lists an additional 1,605 breweries in planning at the year’s midpoint, compared to 1,252 a year ago. As of June 30, the count of craft breweries was at 2,483, showing that 98 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 108,440 full-time and part-time workers, many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.
“More breweries are currently operating in the U.S. than at any time since the 1870s.” Gatza says. “With each new brewery opening, American craft brewers are reinforcing the U.S.’s position as the world’s most diverse brewing nation. It’s a very good time to be an American beer lover.”