2018 Craft Brewery Growth Headlines

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Yesterday, I outlined the mechanics of coming up with our small and independent craft brewery growth numbers. Today, I have written two posts. This one is a quick hit highlighting some themes that emerged while analyzing the growth figures. For members, I have a more in-depth version of this post that breaks out the data in much more detail and with more analysis.

View the In-Depth Analysis

Here are the headlines:

Category Growth

  • Regional craft brewers were static in 2018
  • Microbreweries contributed 80 percent of the craft category’s total growth, up from 60 percent in 2017
  • Brewpubs had a solid year—up 13 percent, accounting for about 20 percent of total growth
  • The members-only post breaks these numbers down more by size within each category

At-the-Brewery Sales

  • At-the-brewery sales for craft brewers grew about 400,000 barrels to around 3-3.1 million barrels
  • These sales represented 40 percent of craft category growth in 2018
  • The members-only post breaks these sales down by size and business model and delves more into how we compile these numbers as well as year-over-year growth for breweries who provided onsite sales data

Per-Brewer Growth

  • Per-brewer growth percentages were fairly similar to 2017
  • Looking in absolute terms, most breweries produced similar levels to 2017
  • Growth came from new entrants and a distribution that tilted toward small increases over small decreases
  • The members-only post has more specific data and analysis about what these patterns mean

What’s Next?

Craft has settled into a more mature growth pattern and is unlikely to return to the meteoric growth levels seen over the past decade.

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