Craft Beer Grows 14% In First Half Of 2012

More great news for craft beer. The Brewers Association announced today that dollar growth for craft beer is up 14% over the first half of this year. For the same period, volume was also up 12%.

From the press release:

“Generally, most craft brewers are continuing to see strong growth in production, sales, brewing capacity and employment, which is to be celebrated during challenged times for many of today’s small businesses,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “Plus it’s a fact that beer drinkers are responding to the quality and diversity created by small American brewing companies. India pale ales, seasonal beers, Belgian-inspired ales and a range of specialty beers are just a few of the beer styles that are growing rapidly.”

The other piece of great news is the rising number of breweries, with new ones opening seemingly every day. The American brewery count now stands at 2,126, representing 350 new brewery openings since June 2011!


More from the press release:

The BA also tracks breweries in planning as an indicator of potential new entrants into the craft category, and lists 1,252 breweries in planning today compared to 725 a year ago. Additionally, the count of craft brewers was at 2,075 as of June 30, 2012 showing that 97 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers.

“Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended for the beverage of moderation,” Gatza added. “There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country.”


    • Adam Keele says

      The issue with this so-called segway is that the mega-brewers are fighting harder than ever to keep consumers from moving on to smaller companies. This is becoming an archaic way to look at it too. When I drank Blue Moon ten years ago, it was because I rarely could find a wheat beer. Samuel Adams was my usual go to then, but I enjoyed wheats more. I was a pretty dumb consumer then too (not putting much thought into what I bought). It wasn’t until I came back to this States in late 2007 from being stationed in Germany, that I couldn’t drink Blue Moon and enjoy it. Something didn’t tasted right and was out of place–and I wouldn’t start homebrewing for another two and a half years too.

      To me, it seems with the amount of options we have at the present moment, the biggest problem finding something you like most in beer, is having a guide to sort through the volume of choices. With so many local/semi-local breweries on draft and in the stores, people don’t need a Blue Moon or Shock Top to transition. The novelty of just going to a brewery is half of it now. Although, with so many dang IPAs and general hop explosions, it will keep the Blue Moons, Shock Tops and Bud Light Limes popular with the masses. A majority of Americans don’t like to think very much about what they buy, and if craft brewers aren’t taking steps to make sure they are brewing a variety of styles AND educating potential and current customers, they are going to intimidate or frighten away some people. Many seem to just put out mild, ever-so-slightly more interesting beer in a predictable manner. It’s more of a shift in own makes and sells a beer than it being something of artisanal craft. Most people can make a wobbly table with unfinished edges, but to make a high quality product that will last for decades AND is a work of art; that’s still rare in “craft beer” with these kind of numbers.

      That’s my longwinded way of saying we can’t just let the giants be the segway they were for many in the past–a past that doesn’t exist anymore. The American way (blind consumerism) is hard to break through. But one sure will not do it by just opening a brewery because you like beer or are a pretty decent homebrewer or think the idea of owning a brewery is about the coolest thing ever. (Wow, this became more of a “we need to put the ‘craft’ back in craft beer” rant than my intended reply.)

  1. beerman49 says

    The curmudgeon speaketh – if I’m editing Mr. Keele’s post for publication I correct “segway” to its proper spelling: “segue”.

    He’s right about the megas being more popular, but Widmer, Pyramid, & others have done well with cloudy hefeweizens served w/a lemon wedge on the rim – the consummate “chick beer” that I & many of my craft-brew-loving friends disdain. Most of the brewpubs I’ve been to don’t make that style, but it’s often on the “guest” list if they have one.

    Bottom line is that taste is personal, & most people rarely are willing to go beyond their “comfort zones”.

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