Craft beer boom continues to brew, sales up 20%

It doesn’t take industry experts to tell you that craft beer is growing in America (and Los Angeles especially) -- a trip to any beer bar or liquor store will offer more than a few new beers and new breweries competing for your beer money, but the Brewers Assn. provides details on just how much craft grew in 2013.

While the overall beer industry continues to slump, craft brews grew by 20%.

The association’s new report -- also in handy infographic form -- breaks down the number of new breweries that opened in 2013 (413 against 44 shuttered breweries), how much more beer was brewed last year (75 million gallons), and the all-important growth of craft beer’s overall market share -- up to 7.8% of beer in 2013.

The Brewers Assn. is a trade organization “dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.” It operates, and the American Homebrewer’s Assn., and this week’s report is the first in a series of business updates it provides each spring.

One number that is particularly impressive is that craft beer accounts for 14.3% of the $100 billion that Americans spend on beer annually, but craft breweries produce only 7.8% of the beer in the U.S. Even though the total beer market in the U.S. was down nearly 2% in 2013 -- a fact that’s beginning to panic the giant multi-national breweries -- craft beer continues to grow across the board.


It’s a lot of numbers, but it all boils down to more Americans spending more money on beer that is more flavorful, more distinctive and represents a closer connection between consumer and brewer.

There’s much nervous talk in the craft industry about how much longer this growth spurt can last before the dreaded bubble bursts, but the Brewers Assn. report indicates there’s still plenty of room for even more craft breweries making even more craft beer, and this is especially true in Los Angeles, where craft didn’t really establish a foothold in the region until four or five years ago.


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