The Brewers Association (BA) reports continued impressive growth in craft breweries nationally, which now represent a 12 percent market share of the overall beer industry.
The association says in 2015, craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels, and saw a 13 percent rise in volume and a 16 percent increase in retail dollar value. Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.3 billion, representing 21 percent market share.
My guess is that we saw even greater volume growth than that in West Virginia last year.
Additionally, in 2015 the number of operating breweries in the U.S. grew 15 percent, totaling 4,269 breweries—the most at any time in American history. West Virginia helped out here with a 45% increase in its number of brewery licenses (growing from 11 to 16 in 2015). Historically speaking, this is very likely the most ever operating in WV too.
West Virginia growth to continue
West Virginia seems to be maintaining its rapid growth pace. It appears that seven additional breweries are poised to start up in the state in 2016. Furthermore, major expansion projects will either be completed (Mountain State) or get started (e.g. Big Timber) at the other WV breweries this year.
The BA reported some other interesting numbers.
- Small and independent breweries account for 99 percent of the breweries in operation, broken down as follows: 2,397 microbreweries, 1,650 brewpubs and 178 regional craft breweries.
- Throughout the year, there were 620 new brewery openings and only 68 closings.
- One of the fastest growing regions was the South, where four states—Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas—each saw a net increase of more than 20 breweries, establishing a strong base for future growth in the region.
“For the past decade, craft brewers have charged into the market, seeing double-digit growth for eight of those years,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “There are still a lot of opportunities and areas for additional growth. An important focus will remain on quality as small and independent brewers continue to lead the local, full-flavored beer movement.”