Brewers Association Celebrates the Year in Beer

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2018 year in craft beer highlighted by milestone brewery numbers, economic impact

Boulder, Colo. – As craft brewers continue to make waves in an evolving market, the Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers—looked back on the craft brewing community’s contributions, highlights, and defining beer moments of the past year.

“The brewing landscape is shifting, yet small and independent breweries continue to find market success,” said Julia Herz, craft beer program director, Brewers Association. “Brewers are finding ways to differentiate themselves in a competitive market, become pillars of communities, and embrace new experiences and occasions to connect with beer lovers.”

2018 Year in Beer

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Of note in 2018:

  • Stable and Steady: The craft brewing industry continues to grow. The Brewers Association’s mid-year survey measured 5 percent growth by volume, and although there have been signs of slightly slower growth in the second half of the year, it is clear that craft beer sales will once again reach a new high in 2018.
  • Big Impact from Small Breweries: As craft’s market share has grown, so has its economic impact, which totals more than $76 billion. The craft brewing community is responsible for 500,000 jobs, with more than 135,000 of those directly at breweries and brewpubs.
  • 7,000 Strong and Growing: The number of breweries in the United States hit yet another all-time high in 2018, eclipsing 7,000 at the end of October. Although the final numbers are still being compiled, there will potentially be 1,000 openings in 2018.
  • #SeektheSeal: More than 4,000 craft brewing companies have adopted the independent craft brewer seal since its inception in June 2017, representing 85 percent of the volume of craft beer brewed. Beer lovers are encouraged to #SeektheSeal via the Brewers Association’s first-ever national advertising campaign That’s Independence You’re Tasting.
  • Community Hubs:85 percent of 21+ adults live within 10 miles of a brewery. The continued growth in breweries means that more communities have a local brewery and it is easier than ever to tour or visit one.
  • Investing in the Future: Craft brewers are putting their savings from a recalibrated federal excise tax to work through economic development, new hires, increased employee benefits and pay, and increased charitable contributions.
  • The Haze Craze: The Brewers Association added three juicy or hazy styles to its Beer Style Guidelines and Great American Beer Festival® competition in 2018, resulting in a record number of entries.  Additionally, brewers continue to innovate and create emerging styles that offer new opportunities to connect with a diverse audience of beer lovers.
  • Just Brew It: It’s estimated that 1 million homebrewers in the U.S. brewed 1.4 million barrels of beer, equal to 1 percent of U.S beer production.

The Brewers Association will offer a complete 2018 industry analysis during the Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America® held in Denver, Colorado from April 8 – 11, 2019, featuring keynote speaker Bruce Dickinson, brewer, businessman, pilot, and lead singer of Iron Maiden.

Contact: Abby Cohen (on behalf of the Brewers Association) 646-695-7044

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 4,800-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®Great American Beer Festival®Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew ConNational Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine, and Brewers Publications® is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at® and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association® and the free Brew Guru® mobile app. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.


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