Friday, May 24, 2013

A 2012 snapshot of the business of 'craft' brewing in the United States.

The Brewers Association is an advocacy and lobbying group for small and independent breweries in the United States.

Once a year, the Brewers Association releases its state-of-the business-of-'craft'-beer (as reported in the May/June edition of New Brewer Magazine —the journal of the Association). Some of that information is released publicly, such as the this: the top 50 craft breweries in the U.S. Much of the material, however, is released only to members of the Association, and is the property of the Association. Thus, I won't report on the actual barrelage numbers of any brewery unless and until that information is publicly released.

Instead, here is a snapshot of the 'craft' beer business, in 2012, both nationally, and here (where YFGF resides) in the tri-state mid-Atlantic region of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia (that is, if Washington, D.C. were granted its due statehood).

New Brewer

Overall U.S. beer sales were some 200,028,520 barrels in 2012, up an estimated 0.9% over 2011. Of that total, small and independent U.S. breweries accounted for an estimated 13,235,917 barrels, up from 11,467,337 in 2011 (a 15.4% increase). 'Craft' breweries' sales share in 2012 was 6.5% by volume and 10.2% by dollars (approximately $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2011). There were 2,403 breweries operating in 2012, the highest total since the 1880s. Brewpubs (of which there were 1,132, up from 1,075 in 2011) produced 870,371 barrels in 2012, 7.2 percent more than in 2011, the fourth straight year of an increase.

Here, in the DMV, for 'craft' beer produced in 2012:
  • Washington, D.C. was ranked 46th in the nation (if it were a state) with 7,815 barrels (up from 2,822 in 2011, a 176.9% increase).
  • Virginia was ranked 28th with 84,059 barrels in 2012 (up from 61,440 in 2011, a 36.8% increase).
  • Maryland was ranked 20th with 154,650 barrels produced in 2012 (up from 123,371 barrels in 2011, a 25.3% increase).
The largest brewery in the tri-state area is Flying Dog, located in Frederick, Maryland. It's also the 29th largest 'craft' brewery in the U.S. In Virginia, the largest is Starr Hill, in Crozet. In Washington, D.C., it's DC Brau.

Nationally, the top 5 states, in order, were:
  • California 2,453,793 barrels
  • Pennsylvania 1,626,116 barrels
  • Colorado 1,291,771 barrels
  • Ohio 980,969 barrels
  • Oregon 764,226 barrels
The state with the fewest barrels of craft beer brewed in 2012?
North Dakota, with 858 proud barrels.

State of Craft Beer: headlines 2013 (14)
  • The Brewers Association restricts its brewery membership to what it calls "craft breweries." It defines those as "small, independent, and traditional." Read here as to how it defines those parameters.
  • The top 50 breweries (and 'craft' breweries) in the U.S.: here.
  • At the 2013 Craft Beer Conference, Paul Gatza —Executive Director of the Brewers Association— delivered a presentation on the State of the Craft Beeer Industry. See a slideshow: here.
  • A barrel of beer is not a physical thing. It is not a keg, but a unit of volume measurement. One barrel equals 31 gallons. In terms of cases of beer (24 bottles of 12-ounce bottles or cans), one barrel is the equivalent of 13.7 cases. For more about beer measurements: read here.

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