In 2019, small and independent brewers collectively produced 26.3 million barrels of beer and realized just under 4% total growth3, increasing craft’s overall beer market share by volume to 13.6%.
Retail dollar value was estimated at $29.3 billion, representing 25.2% market share and 6% growth over 2018. Growth for small and independent brewers occurred in an overall down beer market, which dropped 2% by volume in 2019. Craft brewers provided more than 160,000 direct jobs, an increase of 7% over 2018.
“Small and independent brewers continued to serve as job creators, strong economic contributors, and community beacons in 2019, while craft maintained a fairly stable growth rate in 2019 and continued to gain share in the beer market,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association.
There were 8,275 craft breweries operating in 2019, including 2,058 microbreweries, 3,011 brewpubs, 2,966 taproom breweries, and 240 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 942 new brewery openings and 294 closings.
“Although craft brewers entered 2020 on a solid foundation, the beer landscape is dramatically different today than it was just a few months ago. Breweries will be facing new realities due to the pandemic with extended closures, tight cash flow, societal shifts, and other economic variables in play. These 2019 figures will allow us to see how much COVID-19 affects small brewer production and jobs,” added Watson.
Note: Numbers are preliminary. For additional insights from Bart Watson, visit Insights & Analysis on the Brewers Association website. The full 2019 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2020 issue of The New Brewer, highlighting regional trends and production by individual breweries.
- An American craft brewer is a small and independent brewer. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3% of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Brewer: Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.
- Absolute figures reflect the dynamic craft brewer data set as specified by the craft brewer definition. Growth numbers are presented on a comparable base. See full methodology.
- Volume by craft brewers represent total taxable production.