The NBWA (National Beer Wholesalers Association) has released its initial analysis of the state of the United States beer industry in 2015, as prepared by its chief economist, Lester Jones.
By the numbers, here's a short summary:
- In 2015, total beer sales in the U.S. saw no appreciable increase over 2014, remaining at approximately 2.9 billion CEs (case equivalents). *
- 2.5% of all beer sales shifted from the 'macro' segment to 'craft' and imports.
- 'Craft' beer sales were up 15% in the U.S. in 2015 (over 2014), increasing from 284.8 CEs to 327.5 million CEs, an increase from 10% of the market to 11.5%.
- 'Macro' beer sales decreased 3.1% (share decreasing from 75.8% to 73.4%).
- Imports increased 6.2% (their share increasing from 14.2% to 15.1% of all beer sold).
- Beer packaged in cans has increased its market share, versus bottles and kegs, every year since 2010, from 52.8% then to 55.5% in 2015. Draft beer has remained steady (or flat, depending on your point-of-view) at approximately 10%.
Here are a few more fun facts on the U.S. beer industry, as compiled by the NBWA:
- In 2014, the U.S. beer industry shipped (sold) 206 million barrels of beer – equivalent to more than 2.8 billion cases.
- In 2014, 86 percent of all beer was domestically produced, and 14 percent was imported from more than 100 different countries around the world.
- Based on beer shipment data and U.S. Census population statistics, U.S. consumers 21 years and older consumed 27.5 gallons of beer per person during 2014.
- The U.S. beer industry sells more than $100 billion in beer and malt-based beverages to U.S. consumers each year.
Things might not be 100% rosy, however. Jones notes that there are indications that the rate of 'craft' beer growth for January/February of this year was not as robust as it had been during those two months last year. But we're yet to hear from the [U.S.] Brewers Association, which, for several years now, has released its annual data concurrent with the Craft Brewers Conference. This year, that is scheduled for 3-6 May, in Philadephia, Pennsylvania.
Hang on, stay tuned, and brew forth.
- * For ease of conversion, many breweries measure their annual output in case equivalents (CEs), that is, as if everything the brewery produced were in cases of 24 12-ounce bottles. One case equals one case equivalent. One U.S. barrel —that is, 31 gallons of beer— is the equivalent of 13.78 CEs. More: here.
- Here's how the NBWA describes itself:
The purpose of the National Beer Wholesalers Association is to provide leadership which enhances the independent beer distribution industry; to advocate before government and the public; to encourage the responsible consumption of alcohol; and to provide programs and services that will benefit its members.
Independent beer distributors, licensed by both the federal and state governments, get bottles, cans, cases and kegs from a brewer or importer to the shelf of your favorite store, local restaurant or neighborhood bar through a safe, transparent and accountable system. They work to help new brands get to market and to ensure that consumers can choose from a vast selection of beer. In fact, more than 13,000 labels of beer are available to American consumers today.
America’s 3,300 independent beer distribution facilities are local businesses that operate in every state and congressional district across the United States. They provide 130,000 solid jobs with good benefits to people who live in their communities.
- For more from YFGF: