Bob Pease, chief executive / president of the Brewers Association — the not-for-profit trade body representing small and independent American craft brewers — looks back at the defining moments of 2018, and forward to 2019
There is much to celebrate in American craft brewing as the market continues to evolve and the brewing landscape continues to shift.
Small and independent American craft breweries continue to differentiate themselves in a crowded market, become pillars of their communities, and embrace new experiences and occasions to connect with beer lovers. Here are a few of the highlights.
The American craft brewing industry continues to grow. The Brewers Association’s mid-year survey measured 55 growth by volume, and although there have been signs of slightly slower growth in the second half of the year, it’s clear that craft beer sales once again reached a new high in 2018.
As American craft beer’s market share has grown, so has its economic impact, which now totals more than $76 billion. The craft brewing community is responsible for 500,000 jobs, with more than 135,000 of those directly at breweries and brewpubs.
There are more than 7,000 independent craft breweries in the United States, an all-time high. Although final numbers are still being compiled, it looks likely that an estimated potential 1,000 breweries opened in 2018.
More than 4,000 craft brewing companies have adopted the independent craft brewer seal since its inception in June 2017, representing 85% of the volume of craft beer brewed.
Beer lovers were encouraged to #seektheseal via the Brewers Association’s first-ever national advertising campaign, entitled ‘That’s Independence You’re Tasting’.
Eighty-five per cent of adults live within ten miles of a brewery. The continued growth in breweries means that more communities have a local brewery, and it’s easier than ever to tour or visit one.
American craft brewers are putting their savings from a recalibrated federal excise tax to good use, through economic development, new hires, increased employee benefits, and pay and increased charitable contributions.
The addition of three new juicy or hazy styles to the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines resulted in a record number of entries (706) in this category at the Great American Beer Festival competition 2018. Brewers continue to innovate and create emerging styles that offer new opportunities to connect with a diverse audience of beer lovers.
It’s estimated that 1.1 million homebrewers in the US brewed 1.4 million barrels of beer, equal to 1% of total US beer production.
The first event for American craft beer this year is Craft Beer Rising, London, from February 21-23, where the Brewers Association Export Development Programme will showcase a wide range of diverse, world-class quality American craft beers and conduct a series of talks and tastings. More details to follow…
From April 8 to 11, the Brewers Association will offer a complete industry analysis of 2018, plus much more, during the Craft Brewers Conference and Brew Expo America, held in Denver, Colorado. This will feature keynote speaker Bruce Dickinson — brewer, businessman, pilot, and lead singer of Iron Maiden. More details at
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.
The BA represents 4,000-plus US breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers.
The BA organises events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week.
The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the largest publisher of brewing literature in the US.
Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app.