Bob Pease, CEO/president of the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, reports on the latest figures for the American craft brewing industry in 2019

“The Brewers Association recently completed its annual survey of 5,500+ brewery members used to measure the performance of the U.S. craft brewing industry.   In 2019, small and independent American craft brewers collectively produced 26.3 million barrels of beer (30.8 million hectolitres) and realised just under 4% total growth, taking craft’s overall beer market share by volume to 13.6%.

Retail dollar value was estimated at $29.3 billion, representing 25.2% market share and 6% growth over 2018.  Growth for small and independent brewers occurred in an overall down beer market which dropped by 2% volume in 2019. Craft brewers provided more than 160,000 direct jobs, an increase of 7% over 2018.

There were 8,275 craft breweries operating in America in 2019, with 942 new brewery openings and 294 closings.  American craft beer maintained a stable growth rate in 2019 and continued to gain share in the beer market. We are seeing demand for new and exciting styles like American IPA, barrel-aged beer and well-made classics continuing to grow  both domestically and overseas.  American craft brewers continue to lead the global craft beer movement in terms of innovation and the development of new flavours outside of traditional styles.  Many of these styles pair well with food dishes and are available to the restaurant and hospitality trade (when they re-open) from selected wholesalers.

Despite American craft brewers entering 2020 on a solid foundation, the beer landscape is dramatically different now to just a few months ago.  According to a recent Brewers Association poll, independent craft breweries are being severely impacted by COVID-19, as evidenced by a sharp drop in craft category sales, massive furloughs or layoffs and potential  brewery closures.

The craft beer community is rooted in collaboration and philanthropy so the Brewers Association has launched a new initiative to support breweries impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

We are partnering with Bottleshare a fundraising, non-profit support scheme dedicated to the craft beer community to create the Believe in Beer Fund.  The fund is open for breweries and guilds from across the country to apply for immediate financial assistance for operational expenses such as payroll, rent and utilities.

This is a challenging time for breweries and their livelihoods are at risk. We hope creating this relief fund with Bottleshare will provide an answer to the most common question beer lovers have been asking during this unprecedented time: ‘How can I help?’”