The explosion of craft brewers around the country sweeping through the beverage alcohol industry throughout the past few years isn’t showing any signs of stopping. According to mid-year data released by the Brewers Association, as of June 30, record high of 4,656 breweries were operating in the U.S, an increase of 917 breweries over the same time period of the previous year. Additionally, another 2,200 breweries are reported to be in the planning phase.

“While the craft brewing industry is entering a period of maturation, most markets are not near saturation,” says Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “As craft’s base gets larger, as with any industry, it becomes more difficult for it to grow at the same percentage rate. Yet there is still tremendous dynamism reflected in eight percent growth for craft.  Production growth of small and independent craft brewers continues to be one of the main bright spots for domestic beer in the U.S. Even in a more competitive market, for the vast majority of small and independent brewers, opportunities still exist.”

“The opening rate compared to closing rate for breweries remains incredibly strong, with a historic number of breweries operating in the U.S.,” added Watson. “As long as there is growing consumer demand, beer lovers’ thirst will continue to advance the category of craft brewed beer from small and independent producers.”