LAST YEAR SAW more downs than ups for the overall beer industry but there were nonetheless several shining beacons, particularly in the craft segment. Strong brewery growth, increased beer tourism and the launch of the independent craft brewer seal were all part of the year for the category. The Brewers Association (BA) looks back on the defining beer moments of 2O17. Of note:
Steady Growth 6OOO breweries were in operation during 2O17 – with 98 percent of them small and independent craft brewers.
Jobs & Economic Impact The BA’s Economic Impact Report, a biennial analysis featuring economic data of craft brewing for all 5O states and the District of Columbia, showed that craft brewers contributed $67.8 billion to the US economy in 2O16, a 21.7 percent increase from 2O14. Craft brewers were responsible for more than 456,373 full-time equivalent jobs, a 7.5 percent increase from 2O14, with 128,768 of those jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs.
Independent Craft Brewer Seal To educate consumers about which beers are independently produced, in June the BA launched a seal touting independent craft brewers. The seal features an iconic beer bottle shape flipped upside down, denoting that the beer is from a brewery that is independently owned. To date, more than 27OO small and independent craft brewing companies, representing more than 75 percent of domestic volume, have signed on to use the seal.
Bipartisan Beer Support The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), 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 6O,OOO barrels of any domestic brewery that produces fewer than 2 million barrels a year and would lower the federal excise tax.
Homebrewing Heats Up There are currently an estimated 1.1 million homebrewers in the country, and in 2O17 homebrewers produced more than 1.4 million barrels of beer – equaling one percent of total US beer production. The National Homebrew Competition, hosted by the American Homebrewers Association, continues to be the world’s largest beer competition with 8618 entries from 353O 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.
Giving Back Craft brewers donated an estimated $73.4 million to charitable causes in 2O16, up from $71 million in 2O14.