American Craft Beer Exports Increase 72 Percent in 2012

An international can of Oskar Blues' Dales Pale Ale

U.S. consumers apparently aren’t the only ones with a thirst for craft beer.

Based on results from a recently-completed industry survey, The Brewers Association (BA) today reported record exports of American craft beer in 2012. U.S. craft brewers shipped 72 percent more beer than in 2011, generating an estimated $49.1 million in sales. That’s up from $23.4 million one year ago.

In a press statement, BA chief operating officer Bob Pease said he was pleased with the continued growth of craft beer exports.

“Consumers continue to view American craft brewers as leaders in innovation and among the standard bearers for quality; maintaining that perception is a priority for the craft brewing community,” Pease said in the statement.

Canada and Western European countries were the largest export markets, accounting for 124,384 barrels shipped. Barrel shipments to Canada increased by 140 percent.

Many popular craft beer brands like Stone Brewing Company, Oskar Blues and Brooklyn Brewery are enjoying higher profiles overseas. Brooklyn Brewery’s number two market (behind New York City) is Sweden and Oskar Blues recently invested in what the company calls an “international can,” featuring text in seven different languages.

Below is the full press release from the BA.

BOULDER, CO — The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers—today reported that the American craft beer industry set a new record for exports in 2012. Based on results from a recently-completed industry survey, craft beer export volume increased by an astounding 72 percent compared to 2011, with a value estimated at $49.1 million.

Canada remained the industry’s largest export market, with shipments increasing 140 percent by volume (up to 68,180 barrels) in 2012. Significant gains have been made in Ontario and British Columbia, and American craft beers are now gaining distribution in other provinces.

Sweden and the United Kingdom remained the next two largest markets. Though total exports decreased in both countries compared to 2011, the decline was offset by increased shipments to other European markets. In total, Western Europe accounted for 56,204 barrels valued at $14.6 million in 2012, a 5.6 percent increase over 2011.

Elsewhere, American craft beer exports to the Asia-Pacific region increased substantially. Shipments to Japan jumped 57 percent by volume and American breweries made strong gains in Australia, China, Hong Kong and emerging markets such as Thailand, Japan, Australia and China are now the industry’s fourth, fifth and sixth largest export markets, respectively.

“The BA is very pleased with the continued growth in exports of American craft beer to markets around the world. Consumers continue to view American craft brewers as leaders in innovation and among the standard bearers for quality. Maintaining that perception is a priority for the craft brewing community,” said Bob Pease, chief operating officer, Brewers Association.

The BA supports exports through its Export Development Program which was initiated in 2004 with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Market Access Program (USDA MAP). The Export Development Program generates exposure for American craft beer through trade shows, festivals, seminars, media outreach and competitions, among other activities.

“Each year the EDP makes considerable progress in accomplishing the BA’s goals,” added Brett Joyce, Rogue Ales, chair of the BA’s Export Development Program committee. “Since its inception, we have worked to not only increase distribution, but educate international markets about the quality and diversity of products offered by American craft brewers. The results of our efforts in the international community have been extremely rewarding.”

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.

About the Brewers Association:

The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup┬«, Great American Beer Festival┬«, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America┬«, SAVOR?: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience and American Craft Beer Week┬«. The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine and its Brewers Publications division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association. Follow us on Twitter.

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