Craft Continues Upward Surge in Massachusetts

Craft beer sales in the Bay State continued to climb in 2012, according to new data from the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts, a trade association advocating on behalf of family-owned wholesalers.

Beer sales to Massachusetts distributors totaled 4,169,941 barrels (57,378,387 cases) for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2012. But a closer look at the numbers reveals some pretty impressive growth statistics for craft.

In 2012, craft breweries sold 66,565 new barrels in Massachusetts, a 12.3 percent uptick from 2011. Specialty import offerings were up too, with the addition of 7,740 new barrels, a 23.37 percent increase from 2011.

Much of that growth is coming from large craft brands like Boston Beer Company, Harpoon Brewery, Shipyard Brewing and Sierra Nevada. Collectively, those four companies sold 30,519 new barrels of craft beer in Massachusetts during 2012.

Total beer sales in Massachusetts grew by 2.2 percent, or 90,757 barrels, in 2012. Craft and specialty beers now comprise nearly 15.5 percent of total beer sales in the Commonwealth.

Brian Murphy, the director of sales and marketing for Massachusetts Beverage Alliance (MBA), said he anticipates additional growth in the craft segment in 2013. MBA, which launched in September of 2011, is a statewide network of wholesalers that distributes 14 different craft brands. The company recently signed distribution agreements with four new breweries – Newburyport Brewing Company, Glutenberg, Grey Sail Brewing Company and Foolproof Brewing Company – and is hopeful that those brands will contribute to the overall growth of craft beer sales in 2013.