BOULDER, Colo. — According to mid-year data released today by the Brewers Association, American craft brewing continued to see sustained growth through the first half of 2013. The not-for-profit trade association, which represents the majority of U.S. breweries, announced that during the first six months of 2013, American craft beer dollar sales and volume were up 15% and 13%, respectively. Over the same period last year, dollar sales jumped 14% and volume increased 12%.
During the first half of 2013, approximately 7.3 million barrels of beer were sold by small and independent craft brewers, up from 6.4 million barrels over the first half of 2012. American craft beer continues to grow despite decreased overall beer sales, which were down 2% through the first six months of the year.
“Demand for beer produced by small and independent brewers has never been higher, as evidenced by increased production and the hundreds of new breweries joining the playing field each year,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “Beer drinkers nationwide are responding positively to high-quality, full-flavored, diverse offerings from American craft brewing companies that continue to innovate and push the envelope.”
There are 2,538 breweries operating in the United States as of June 30, 2013, an increase of 446 breweries since June 2012. The BA also lists an additional 1,605 breweries in planning at the year’s midpoint, compared to 1,252 a year ago. As of June 30, 2013, the count of craft breweries was at 2,483, showing that 98% of U.S. brewers are craft brewers. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 108,440 full-time and part-time workers, many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy, the association noted.
An American craft brewer, according to the BA, is defined as a small (producing less than 6 million barrels annually), independent (less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer) and traditional (a brewer who has either an all malt flagship 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).
“More breweries are currently operating in the U.S. than at any time since the 1870s,” Gatza added. “With each new brewery opening, American craft brewers are reinforcing the U.S.’s position as the world’s most diverse brewing nation. It’s a very good time to be an American beer lover.”
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