CBC: Gatza Explains Continued Optimism for Craft Beer

The shift is on: the craft beer industry continues to grow as colossal brands lose market share.

Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, explained this shift at Wednesday’s opening reception for the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington D.C. Gatza said he wasn’t surprised by the growth, which has been a year-to-year truth at this conference, however, he also said that he’s encouraged by the 0.9 percent volume growth of the overall U.S. beer industry—the first uptick since 2008.

The craft industry is leading the way to that growth: it grew 15 percent by volume and sold 13.2 million barrels; an increase of 1.8 million barrels from 2011. Part of this growth derives from from the increasing number of breweries. There are currently 2,347 craft breweries, which is made up of 1,132 brewpubs, 1,118 microbreweries and 97 regional craft brands. There are also 1,254 breweries in planning—the highest mark in the industry’s history. Another contributor is the 3.5 percent increase in pricing across the industry.

Seasonal options, the best-performing style of craft beer, have carried much of the industry’s progress. Gatza said that seasonals currently own 19 percent of the industry’s dollar share and a 13 percent volume growth percentage. IPAs come in second place, owning 16 percent of the industry’s dollar share and, to little surprise for those following new releases, tote a 39 percent volume growth percentage. Pale ales own a 13 percent dollar share, however they grew just 6 percent in volume. Variety beers own a 9 percent dollar share with a 6 percent growth percentage. Amber ale owns an 8 percent dollar share with 2 percent volume growth. Lagging behind, amber lagers own a 6 percent dollar share yet decreased volume percentage by 3 percent, and wheat beers own a 5 percent dollar share yet decreased volume by 4 percent. Gatza said that he believes wheat beers will continue to fall off and bock beers will take their place.

Below are other relevant statistics for the craft beer industry:

-There were 43 brewery closings in 2012, and with so many new brewery openings, Gatza said that he expects that number to rise in 2013.

-There were 97 craft breweries that produced more than 15,000 barrels in 2012 — the highest number in the industry’s history.

-There were 189,050 barrels of beer exports in 2012; easily the highest number in the industry’s history.

-The top five states for 2012 brewery openings were California (56), Colorado (29), Texas (25), Washington (25) and Michigan (19).

-The top five states for fewest people per brewery are Vermont (25,030), Oregon (27,171), Montana (27,484), Colorado (32,033) and Alaska (32,283).

-Craft beer’s market share by volume increased from 5.7 percent in 2011 to 6.5 percent in 2012. The industry’s dollar share grew from 9.1 percent in 2011 to 10.2 percent in 2012.

-Small brewing operations in the U.S. produced 108,440 jobs; 60,521 were full-time jobs and 47,919 were part-time jobs.

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