It’s that time again, when we tally the barrelage of the craft breweries operating in the United States and report on the growth numbers for the previous year for our annual Industry Review Issue. Craft breweries had a banner year in 2014, increasing production by 18 percent by volume and earning double digit market share (11 percent) for the first time ever.
Here’s a look at some of the features you’ll find in this issue:
Craft Shifts Into Mainstream
The story for craft beer in 2014 continued on a familiar path: growth, growth, and more growth. Demand for craft brewed beer expanded among Americans, and many craft brewers raced to keep up with supplying their distributors, retailers, taprooms, and customers. They became more sophisticated on the business side out of necessity, and focused on quality in the brewhouse, in fermentation vessels, and in packaging. By Bart Watson and Paul Gatza
Brewpubs: Creating Synergies
Brewpubs continue to defy categorization, continuing to show that they’re more than just a brewery plus a restaurant, but rather a thriving synergy of the two entities. The 1,412 brewpubs operating at the end of 2014 brewed 1,170,935 barrels, and remained on the front lines of the “drink local” movement across the U.S. By Stan Hieronymus
Micros: Stepping Up the Pace
The performance of microbreweries in 2014 continued the ongoing saga of progress and promise that the craft beer world has become accustomed to. Production grew by slightly more than 33 percent for the year, reaching nearly three million barrels. Eighteen micros passed the 15,000-barrel mark to move into the ranks of regional breweries. By Jack Curtin
Regionals: Little Big Breweries
America’s regional craft breweries are big and full of contradictions. While inaugurating mammoth, state-of-the-art plants, they seek to maintain their street cred as small brewers making the edgy, experimental, limited-edition beers that craft consumers love. While focusing on making great beer, they’re exploring other entrepreneurial opportunities, investing in restaurants and hotels and seeking to satisfy a thirst for craft spirits and ciders. While laboring to supply their home markets, they’re eyeing a growing market for American craft beer abroad. By Greg Kitsock
Imports and Large Breweries: A Mixed Bag
For 2014, the total beer industry was up 1 percent in volume, but 4 percent in dollars due to price increases and a shift toward more expensive crafts and flavored malt beverages. The highest growth in the beer business came from Mexican imports, flavored beers, and craft. Those are strange bedfellows, proving that there’s not one single “thing” that is driving growth in the U.S. beer business. By Harry Schumacher
Also in this issue, you’ll find photos from the recent Craft Brewers Conference, plus a wealth of information and “news you can use” for your brewery in our departments; news about the craft brewing community in the Brew News and New Releases sections; and new products and innovations from the craft brewing industry in our Industry Supplier News section. In our back page interview, we highlight Brewery Vivant co-owner Kris Spaulding.
Cheers to another year of growth!