July, 16, 2010
Erin Glass is the Brewers Association Membership Coordinator and Brewery Detective. She is busy busy these days. The part of Erin's job that involves tracking down leads for new brewery openings is increasing in demand. For all of 2009, she confirmed 110 new brewery openings. Erin has uncovered 154 brewery openings in her work this year. We could approach 250 new brewery openings this year. Gulp! Wait, make that 154 into a 155. She found another one as I type.
Things are moving fast out there. It isn't just an increasing number of nanobreweries, either. We are seeing strong growth in the traditional brewery openings--you know, a business plan for a microbrewery or brewpub that gets out of the planning phase and into operation.
Where does that put us for brewery counts? We believe there were 1,625 U.S. breweries as of the June 30 count. While the brewpub roster is climbing a little, up to 993, as we see some closings to offset the growth somewhat, the number of microbreweries is at 520 now.
Will it continue for the rest of the year? Here's a stat. One year ago we had 260 projects on our breweries-in-planning list. Today we have 389. Let's hope all of the people behind these breweries understand that quality has been a major driver of segment growth and prioritize bringing great beer to the beer drinkers.