Beer is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. The high demand for beer has caused a movement among small breweries, fighting for bar taps and retail shelf spaces. Small breweries or craft breweries have been fighting for their unique flavor and identity ever since John Mitchell pioneered North America’s first brewpub in 1982. The quality of beer from these small breweries improved over the years, enabling a wider distribution and establishing popularity and choice. Circa 1980, beer was simply another commodity that had no culture, character or tradition. But fast forward to 2018, their struggles have come to an end after beer sales and the number of the breweries in the market continues to grow.
US Beer Industry Growth Infographic showing market and craft market
Overall the beer market is flat but craft and import are on the rise

The Rise of Independent Breweries

Brewers Association, a well-known trade group that endorses and defends independent and small brewers in the United States, presented a report that the sales of craft beers have doubled from $10.12 billion in 2011 to a staggering $23.5 billion in the year 2016. That represents almost a quarter of the entire beer market.

As of June 30, 2017, there are now 5,562 craft breweries that are operating in the United States. That is 906 breweries more than the midyear 2016 reports, which was deemed as a new all-time high number.

This bold impact on the market encouraged other entrepreneurs and startups to delve into the craft beer market. The contribution of independent brewers to the economy is the 129,000 full-time and part-time jobs that they have created in the US. Chief Economist of Brewers Association, Bart Watson, reveres this as something significant and invaluable.

Craft Breweries in the U.S. Making A Name for Themselves

The following are some of the small breweries in America that have fought their way to the top of the food chain:

3 Daughters Brewing – 3 Daughters Brewing is a well-known brewing company that creates handcrafted beers. The St. Petersburg, Florida-based company highlights their good-sized tasting room that offers games, music, and craft brews. Mike and Leigh Harting are the Owners, of 3Daughters Brewing, named after their 3 girls.

Bell’s Brewery – The Michigan-based brewery company has a lot of good things that are going on its way. It manufactures Bell’s brand of beer. Bell’s Brewery also has its very own brewpub, which is called Eccentric Café. Laura Bell is the CEO of the craft beer manufacturer. The brewery company has been in the industry of craft beer since 1983 and was at the forefront of the beer revolution in Michigan.

Basic City Beer – Brothers, Bart, Chris, and Joe Lanman are the ones who founded the well-known brewery company in Main Street, Waynesboro, Virginia. Basic City Beer is different from other breweries because of their aesthetic. It has a one-of-a-kind environment, placed in a historic industrial warehouse.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – The Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is known for its experiments on craft beers. The Delaware-based company has been producing and supplying craft beers since 1995. Nick Benz is the CEO of the company.

Cape May Brewing Company – Cape May Brewing Company or CMBC is a microbrewery company that is located in Jersey Shore. The microbrewery started its operation in 2010 and since then has produced over 100 beers. Ryan Krill is the President and the Co-Founder of Cape May Brewing Company.

These are just some of the craft breweries across the United States that are making a bold impact on the beer industry. But what are the reasons for the impressive results?

Causes for the Sudden Increase of Craft Beer

According to Bart Watson, a Chief Economist of the Brewers Association, “The industry (craft beer) is a maturing industry. Having those growth rates in an industry of this size is impossible going forward.”

Brewer holding a craft beer
Craft Beer Is Driving the Market

Despite having some negative feedback from experts, the market of small breweries continues to increase. Its volume has risen from 13% in 2015 to 18% in 2017. What more in 2018?

Watson even said, “The beer world is highly competitive and there is certainly a mixed bag in terms of performance. Some breweries are continuing to grow whereas others are having to evolve their position and nurture new opportunities to ensure they keep pace.”

One of the reasons why the number and sales of craft breweries began to rise is because many states in America have loosened their laws on craft beers. They are now allowing brewers to have a direct retail relationship to consumers. The law change has since then welcomed by beer makers and beer enthusiasts.

Impact of Tourism

Tourists are also one of the reasons for the sudden increase. There are many beer lovers from around the world who are visiting the United States. And they want to try something new, found in craft breweries from different states.

Small breweries are now much more compelling than the known industry heavyweights. Its market is definitely peaking at the right time and the society needs to prepare because the once deemed ‘new player’ is on its rise to popularity.

John Miles

    

John R. Miles
EVP & Associate Publisher

John R. Miles is Executive Vice President of Business Development and Associate Publisher of Bold Business. He is a sought-after motivational speaker and writer. He brings visionary leadership style and talent as a Navy Veteran and an internationally experienced CEO, COO, and Fortune 50 CIO across a multitude of industries. Miles is also an operating partner at the Virgo Investment Group where he is responsible for identifying and pursuing new investments while supporting existing portfolio companies with operational expertise. He is active on Linkedin and  Twitter and published in a variety of media. Miles graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy where he was a varsity athlete.

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