Craft Brewery Market

By definition, the craft brewery market “includes microbreweries and brewpubs that produce beer for resale or consumption on premises” (IBIS World, 2015). Major products in the industry include IPA, Seasonal, Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Wheat, and Lager. There are three main characteristics for the industry: small, independent, and traditional. The brewery must produce less than 6 million barrels per year. An industry member can own/control 25% of the brewery. Lastly, the brewery must be innovative (“Craft Beer Defined”).

In 2014, retail sales for the craft brewery industry were $19.6 billion (“Craft Brewing Statistics”). Between 2010 and 2015, there was an annual growth of 18.8%. Currently, there are 424,000 jobs and 3,794 businesses (IBIS World, 2015). As shown in the link, Number of Breweries Worldwide, the United States has the most breweries at about 4,000 compared to the next biggest at 723 (United Kingdom).

There are four segments in the craft brewery market: microbreweries, brewpubs, contract brewing companies, and regional craft breweries. Microbreweries are:

  • Less than 15,000 barrels per year
  • 75% beer sold off-site
  • Examples: Alewerks, Back Bay, Home Republic
Brewpubs are:
  • 25% or more sold on-site
  • Sold in restaurant and bar
  • Examples: Gordon Biersch, Great American Restaurants, Rock Bottom Brewery
Contract brewing companies are a business or brewery that hires a brewery to make its beer. Lastly, regional craft breweries are “independent regional brewery with  a majority of volume in ‘traditional’ or ‘innovative’ beers” (“Market Segments”).

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