Report: 6,000 Breweries Now Open in US; 900 Operating in California

There are now 6,000 U.S. breweries in operation, and 98 percent of those beer companies are considered small and independent, according to a new report released by industry trade group the Brewers Association (BA).

“Craft brewers continue to thrive, if at a slower pace, fueled by a passionate community dedicated to bringing innovation, jobs and beer across America — on Main Street and beyond,” BA chief economist Bart Watson said via a press release. “Today, 83 percent of the population lives within 10 miles of a local brewery, meaning that the positive impact of breweries is being felt in communities all over the country.”

In California, where more breweries operate than in any other state, 92 percent of the state’s 39.5 million residents live within 10 miles of a brewery, according to data from the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA), a nonprofit trade group.

According to the CCBA, the number of craft beer companies in the state has tripled since 2012, to more than 900. In 2016, those breweries combined to produce more than 3.2 million barrels of beer.

California accounted for 11 percent of the U.S. craft brewing industry’s $67.8 billion of economic impact in 2016, the BA’s Watson said in a press release.

Meanwhile, the BA said craft breweries across the U.S. employed more than 456,373 full-time workers last year, up 7.5 percent from 2014.

For their part, California’s craft breweries were responsible for 49,308 full-time jobs with an average annual salary of $55,000. Those California breweries paid $1.49 billion in taxes in 2016 ($868 million in state and local taxes and $617 million in federal taxes).

“The positive impact of craft breweries on the state of California goes far beyond just the benefits of tax revenue, manufacturing jobs and tourism,” CCBA executive director Tom McCormick said in a press release. “Craft breweries also have a tangible influence on the growth and development of their region, investing in their community, employing their neighbors and supporting local nonprofits.”

But the increasing number of U.S. breweries comes at a time when the overall growth of craft has slowed to single digits. Amid stiff competition, several small breweries closed their doors in 2017.

In California, a few notable names faced significant headwinds. Sacramento’s Rubicon Brewing, which had been in operation for 30 years, closed in August. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Carlsbad-based Wiseguy Brewing, citing a lack of foot traffic, closed after just seven months.

Meanwhile, more established beer companies sold stakes to larger brewing entities. In the Bay Area, Japan’s Sapporo Holdings Ltd. acquired Anchor Brewing; Brooklyn Brewery acquired a minority stake in 21st Amendment; and a group led by New Belgium Brewing Company acquired Magnolia Brewing from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Speakeasy Ales & Lagers also sold to the Hunters Point Brewery holding company, which is owned by former Horizon Beverage Company executive Cestra Butner.

In its press release, the BA also shared that more than 2,700 of its members — who account for more than 75 percent of the domestic craft beer volume — have adopted the “independent craft brewer seal.” The badge, which features an upside down beer bottle, was unveiled in June and is intended to help BA member breweries distinguish their beers from those owned by multinational corporations such as Anheuser-Busch InBev and Molson Coors.

To promote promote of the seal, the BA launched the “Take Craft Back” campaign, a faux crowdfunding campaign to raise $213 billion to acquire Anheuser-Busch InBev, in October. Active promotion of the campaign will conclude on December 15, falling more than $212 billion short of its stated goal after receiving more than $3.3 million in pledges of support from 11,857 people.

Press releases with more information are included below.

2017 Craft Beer in Review

Boulder, CO — December 13, 2017 – Strong brewery growth, increased beer tourism and the launch of the independent craft brewer seal—with more than 2,700 craft brewers signed on—were all part of a watershed year for craft beer in 2017. The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers—looks back on the defining beer moments of the year.

“Craft brewers continue to thrive, if at a slower pace, fueled by a passionate community dedicated to bringing innovation, jobs and beer across America—on Main Street and beyond,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Today, 83 percent of the population lives within 10 miles of a local brewery, meaning that the positive impact of breweries is being felt in communities all over the country.”

Of note in 2017:

  • Steady Growth: 6,000 breweries were in operation during 2017—with 98 percent of them small and independent craft brewers.
  • Jobs and Economic Impact: The BA’s Economic Impact Report, a biennial analysis featuring economic data of craft brewing for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, showed that craft brewers contributed $67.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, a 21.7 percent increase from 2014. Craft brewers were responsible for more than 456,373 full-time equivalent jobs, a 7.5 percent increase from 2014, with 128,768 of those jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs.
  • Independent Craft Brewer Seal: To help educate beer lovers about which beers are independently produced, in June the BA launched a seal touting independent craft brewers. Featuring an iconic beer bottle shape flipped upside down, the seal captures the spirit with which craft brewers have upended beer, while informing beer lovers they are choosing a beer from a brewery that is independently owned. To date, more than 2,700 small and independent craft brewing companies, representing more than 75 percent of domestic volume, have signed on to use the seal.
  • Can’t Beat ’Em? Buy ’Em: Take Craft Back, a tongue-in-cheek crowdfunding campaign to raise $213 billion to purchase Anheuser-Busch InBev, was launched to draw attention to the lack of transparency and growing disparity in marketplace influence between small and independent brewers and Big Beer. Nearly 12,000 craft beer lovers have pledged their support.
  • Bipartisan Beer Support: The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), championed by Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) and Sen. Bob Portman (R-OH), was reintroduced in the 115th Congress and has reached a majority of support in both houses. If passed, the bill—which was added as an amendment to the larger Senate Tax Reform Bill in November—would significantly reduce the federal excise tax on the first 60,000 barrels of any domestic brewery that produces fewer than 2 million barrels a year and would lower the federal excise tax on barrelage up to 6 million barrels.
  • Homebrewing Heats Up: There are currently an estimated 1.1 million homebrewers in the U.S., and in 2017 homebrewers produced more than 1.4 million barrels of beer—equaling one percent of total U.S. beer production. The National Homebrew Competition, hosted by the American Homebrewers Association, continues to be the world’s largest beer competition with 8,618 entries from 3,530 homebrewers worldwide.
  • Beercations and Tap Rooms Are Boomin’: Beer tourism is growing, with the average craft drinker visiting 3.5 breweries near their homes and 2.5 breweries within two hours’ driving distance. Plus 64 percent surveyed said visiting a brewery/tap room was a new or different beer drinking occasion, indicating brewery visits have created a new sales channel for beer.
  • #GivingBack: American craft brewers are not just great at making flavorful beer—they are also a force for good. Craft brewers donated an estimated $73.4 million to charitable causes in 2016, up from $71 million in 2014.

“This has been an incredible year for the craft beer community with both challenges and successes. Emphasized more than ever before is the need to advocate for and educate beer drinkers on the importance and value of craft brewers to our nation and our culture,” said Julia Herz, craft beer program director, Brewers Association. “What is especially gratifying is watching the positive impacts beer tourism and independent breweries are having on local communities.”

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 4,000-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s Independent Craft Brewer Seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. 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, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week. The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S.

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Number of Breweries in California Reaches New Record

California Craft Brewers Association releases annual data on growth and impact of craft brewing industry

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The craft beer industry has tripled over the last five years, up from 300 breweries in 2012 to just over 900 breweries in operation today, according to data released by the nonprofit trade association representing the industry, the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA). California is home to more craft breweries than any state in the nation, with nearly 92 percent of the state’s 39.5 million residents living within 10 miles of a brewery.

“11 percent of the craft brewing industry’s total $67.8 billion economic impact comes from California,” said Bart Watson, Chief Economist at the Brewers Association. “These data highlight the powerful economic impact craft brewers have in California and across the nation.”

According to the CCBA report, the total economic impact of craft breweries in California exceeds $7.3 billion. This figure is derived from the total impact of beer brewed by craft brewers as it moves from breweries to distributors to retailers as well as non-beer merchandize sold at breweries and tasting rooms.

By the Numbers:

  • Craft breweries in California supported nearly 50,000 full time jobs with an average wage of $55,000 a year.
  • California’s craft breweries paid $1.49 billion in taxes in 2016, including $868 million in state and local taxes and $617 million in federal taxes.
  • California’s craft breweries produced 3,295,221 barrels of beer in 2016. Breweries exported 1.17 million barrels, which is greater than the total craft production in all but five states in the nation.
  • The number of licensed breweries grew by more than 100 in the last year – more than any state in the country and an increase that was greater than the total licensed number of breweries in 34 states.

“The positive impact of craft breweries on the state of California goes far beyond just the benefits of tax revenue, manufacturing jobs and tourism,” said CCBA executive director, Tom McCormick. “Craft breweries also have a tangible influence on the growth and development of their region, investing in their community, employing their neighbors and supporting local nonprofits. Craft breweries are the living room, the town hall and the gathering place for their community.”

For more information about California craft beer, please visit www.californiacraftbeer.com.

About the California Craft Brewers Association

The California Craft Brewers Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit trade association representing the craft and specialty brewing industry in California. Formed in 1989, the CCBA is the oldest state trade association representing craft breweries.

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