The results are in and again craft beer has hit one out of the park. For the fourth straight year, growth in the sale of craft beer has shown signifcant improvement.
From the BA press release:
The continuing growth of craft beer entered double digit territory in 2006, with sales by craft brewers up 11.7% by volume for the year. This comes on top of strong growth in each of the prior three years and illustrates the ongoing surge of consumer interest in craft beers.
“American tastes are clearly changing thus the demand for more flavorful and diverse beers is exploding,” said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association, which tabulates industry growth data.
The Brewers Association estimates 2006 sales by craft brewers at over 6,600,000 barrels (one barrel equals 31 U.S. gallons) up from an adjusted total of just under 6,000,000 barrels in 2005. The increase totals over 690,000 barrels or 9.5 million case-equivalents. For 2006 craft beer posted a retail sales figure of $4.2 billion.
A strong area of distribution for craft beer is grocery, convenience, drug and liquors stores. According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), “The beer category reaped growth from import (+10.9%) and micro-brew (+16.9%) products, while suffering losses across domestic and non-alcoholic varieties.”
“Craft beer has become a great American success story and today U.S. craft brewers are being watched, emulated and celebrated globally.” stated Julia Herz, Director of Craft Beer Marketing for the Brewers Association. “Demand has become contagious. Craft beer is satisfying the thirst and beer enthusiasm of a continuously growing number of beer drinkers who are seeking flavor, diversity and value.”
A more extensive release of the 2006 production numbers will be available from the Brewers Association on April 19 at the Craft Brewers Conference in Austin, TX and unveiled in the May/June issue of The New Brewer magazine. The craft beer segment includes 1377 breweries.
The definition of craft beer as stated by the Brewers Association: An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Craft beer comes only from a craft brewer. Small = annual production of beer less than 2 million barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition. Independent = Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer. Traditional = A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands)