The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, has released its 2015 data on US craft brewing growth. With more breweries than even before, small and independent craft brewers now represent 12 percent market share of the overall beer industry, according to the association.
Craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels in 2015, and saw a 13 percent rise in volume and a 16 percent increase in retail dollar value. Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.3 billion, representing 21 percent market share.
“For the past decade, craft brewers have charged into the market, seeing double digit growth for eight of those years,” says Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association. “There are still a lot of opportunities and areas for additional growth. An important focus will remain on quality as small and independent brewers continue to lead the local, full-flavored beer movement.”
Additionally, in 2015 the number of operating breweries in the US grew 15 percent, totaling 4,269 breweries. Small and independent breweries account for 99 percent of the breweries in operation, broken down as follows: 2,397 microbreweries, 1,650 brewpubs and 178 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 620 new brewery openings and 68 closings. One of the fastest growing regions was the South, where four states—Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas—each saw a net increase of more than 20 breweries.
Combined with already existing and established breweries and brewpubs, craft brewers provided nearly 122,000 jobs, an increase of over 6,000 from the previous year.