THE CRAFT BEER industry may be seeing a bit of a slowdown but it remains a significant contributor to the economy nonetheless. According to a recent report from the Brewers Association, the US craft beer industry contributed $67.8 billion to the domestic economy, as well as more than 456,OOO jobs in 2O16. The figure was obtained by the Brewers Association via its annual Beer Industry Production Survey (BIPS) and the bi-annual Brewery Operations Benchmarking Survey (BOBS) as well as additional government and market data and relates to *“small and independent American craft brewers”.
Included in the $67.8 billion is the “total impact of beer brewed by craft brewers as it moves through the three-tier system” – meaning from breweries, to wholesalers and finally to retailers – as well as “non-beer products like food and merchandise” that is sold directly from brewpub eateries, taprooms and shops. The report also found that the US craft beer industry provides over 456,OOO full-time jobs, with 128,OOO via the breweries and brewpubs themselves. The dollar total represents a 21.7% increase from 2O14, which was the last time similar data was collected, when the industry contributed $55.7 billion to the US economy. These figures give a more positive impression of the US craft beer industry after figures, also from the Brewers Association, showed that sales of US craft beer have continued to slow in the first half of 2O17. Despite this decelerating growth, both in sales and production volume, the organization has said that the industry is experiencing much steadier year-on-year growth. It also cites the fact that the number of craft breweries operating in the US continues to grow – as of the end of June there were 5562 operating breweries in the US, an increase of 9O6 from the same time period the previous year while there are also approximately 2739 breweries in planning.
*note The Brewers Association define small as “annual production of six million barrels of beer or less” and independent as a brewery that is “less than 25% owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.”