Number of US Breweries the Highest in 100 Years
Boulder, CO • August 17, 2009 – The Brewers Association, the trade association representing the majority of US brewing companies, reports America's small and independent craft brewers¹ are still growing (see Craft Brewing Statistics) despite many challenges and are continuing to provide jobs to the US economy. Dollar growth from craft brewers during the first half of 2009 increased 9%, down from 11% growth during the same period in 2008. Volume of craft brewed beer sold grew 5% for the first six months in 2009, compared to 6.5% growth in the first half of 2008. Barrels sold by craft brewers for the first half of the year is an estimated 4.2 million, compared to 4 million barrels sold in the first half of 2008.
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"At a time when many of the giant beer brands are declining, small and independent craft brewers are organically growing their share and slowly gaining shelf and restaurant menu space one glass of craft beer at a time," said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association.
The U.S. now boasts 1,525 breweries, the highest number in 100 years when consolidation and the run up to Prohibition reduced the number of breweries to 1,498 in 1910. "The U.S. has more breweries than any other nation and produces a greater diversity of beer styles than anywhere else, thanks to craft brewer innovation," Gatza added.
Headlines from stories on beer and craft brewers in the first half of 2009 include the following:
- Winemakers Go After Beer Drinkers (Oregon Public Radio)
- Made by Small Brewers, But Delicious, Says Aficionado from Food & Wine Magazine (CBS Early Show)
- Frothy Diplomacy: What Beer Will Obama Choose for White House Meeting? (ABC News)
- Beer Edges Out Wine, Liquor as Drink of Choice in U.S. (Gallup Poll)
¹ The definition of a craft brewer as stated by the Brewers Association: An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Small: Annual production of beer less than 2 million barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition. Independent: 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. Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, USA, the Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade and education association for small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. Visit the Web site, www.BrewersAssociation.org, to learn more. The association's activities include events and publishing: World Beer Cup®; Great American Beer Festival℠; Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®; National Homebrewers Conference; National Homebrew Competition; SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience; American Craft Beer Week; Zymurgy magazine; The New Brewer magazine; and books on beer and brewing. The Brewers Association has an additional membership division of 19,000+ homebrewers: American Homebrewers Association.