Brewers Association: International Demand for Craft Beer Surges

If international travel is on your 2014 calendar, expect to find even more beer from U.S. craft brewers while abroad.

The Brewers Association (BA) today reported that export volume of American craft beer grew 49 percent in 2013 for an estimated $73 million in total sales.

Based on results from a recently-completed BA survey, 82 U.S. craft brewers participating in the Brewers Association Export Development Program, and other non-members who responded to the survey, shipped 282,526 barrels around the world.

“Exports of American craft beer continue to expand in the international market, reflecting craft brewing’s overall success as an industry,” Bob Pease, the organization’s COO said in a press release. “New distribution agreements for U.S breweries throughout Europe and Asia are helping to grow exports. This sustained growth is a testament to the innovation of small and independent American craft brewers and the enthusiasm of beer drinkers internationally.

Canada remained the industry’s biggest international customer, importing more than 131,000 barrels in 2013, 92 percent more than 2013. Sweden and the United Kingdom grew volumes 15.5 and 7.9 percent respectively, solidifying their spots as the next two largest global markets. Rounding out the top five, Australia grew volumes 5.4 percent and Japan saw a 3.2 percent uptick.

Shipments to Asia Pacific — excluding Japan — grew 73 percent as well, to 44,228 barrels. Singapore proved itself an emerging market as shipments jumped 379 percent. Hong Kong and Thailand also grew shipments 150 and 99 percent each.

Pease added that with this growth comes the added task of preserving quality within each individual SKU.

“With more beer exported around the world, the challenge now is to ensure that beer quality is preserved in all cases, so consumers are assured a positive experience,” he said.

Eric Wallace, president and co-founder of Left Hand Brewing Co. and chair of the BA’s EDP, said he was “thrilled to see the increasing appreciation of and demand for American craft beer in markets outside of the U.S.”

“Expanding the footprint of American craft beers internationally is an important goal for small and independent craft brewers,” he added.

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