Maine’s Craft Beer Industry Projected to Grow 200 Percent by 2018

Sales of Maine-made craft beer could soon rival those of Vacationland’s most celebrated crustacean and iconic product — the lobstah.

According to a new economic study released by the Maine Brewers Guild, craft beer production in Maine is projected to grow by 200 percent in the next four years.

Economists at the University of Maine found that the state’s breweries sold $92.6 million worth of beer in 2013. By comparison, Maine’s lobster catch was valued at approximately $340 million in 2012.

“The variety of beers being offered has never been bigger and everyone is finding that there is a beer for them,” said Sean Sullivan, the executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild.

The study, which was released last week, also found that an additional $35.5 million worth of revenue was generated from the sales of Maine-made craft beer in brewpubs, restaurants and retail shops.

An affinity for purchasing products made locally is helping to drive sales upwards for Maine breweries, Sullivan said.

“It’s a small state and people know one another,” he said. “If Mainers have an opportunity to purchase something from someone they know, they do it.”

Sales of Maine-made craft beer resulted in a statewide economic impact of an estimated $189 million in 2013, the study also found.

However, the study only reflected production figures from the 35 Maine-based breweries in operation in 2013. There are now 53 breweries currently producing beer in the state and five more are planning to open before the end of the year.

A separate study, commissioned by the Brewers Association last year, found the total economic impact of all craft beer sold in Maine during 2012 to be more than $327 million.

“The future is bright for Maine craft beer,” Dan Kleban, the owner of Maine Beer Co. said in a press statement. “We are creating sustainable manufacturing jobs, driving tourism, and supporting allied industries like Maine farms.”

Maine’s largest craft brewery is Portland-based Shipyard Brewing. The company sold 32,900 barrels of beer within state borders in 2012, more than triple D.L. Geary Brewing Company, the next largest supplier of Maine-made craft beer.

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