Craft Beer Industry is More than Meets the Eye

When people hear the term “craft beer industry”, they most commonly think of microbreweries. The craft beer industry is actually segmented into four separate categories; microbrews, brew pubs, contract breweries, and regional breweries. According to the Brewer’s Association, microbreweries account for only 14% of craft beer production with the rest coming from contract breweries (1%) brew pubs (5%), and regional breweries (79%). In total, these segments produced more than 22 million barrels of beer in 2014 alone.

Source: Brewers Association, Boulder Colorado, National Beer Sales and Production Statistics


Proposed FDA rules causing issues

The FDA has proposed regulations for the next year that would require restaurants to list nutritional information for all beers served.  To comply with this regulation, craft breweries must order $600 lab tests per beer and the process can take weeks.  Dave Lopez, of Gun Hill Brewing, has over 42 different types of beer that would have to be tested.  He says the only way to comply with this regulation is to limit the amount of beers available to customers.

Linge, MK (2015). Craft Brewers say new FDA mandate will limit beer selection. New York Post. Retrieved from:

Age and Gender Demographics of Craft Beer

Who drinks Beer?

This graph breaks down the craft beer drinkers by age and gender for 2012, as linked here Craft Beer Drinkers by Age and Gender. In the age group 21-34, women drank 44% of craft beer versus men at 32% (Statistica 2012) . This was very interesting to me because I would have expected women to drink more wine than craft beer.  As the age progresses, men become the majority of craft beer drinkers. The majority that drink craft beer are between 35-54 (Statistica 2012).


Statistica. (2012). Share of craft beer drinkers in the United States in 2012, by age and gender. Retrieved from

A Brief of the Craft Beer Industry

While craft beer has been part of America’s history since Native American’s began brewing beer from corn, the beverages we associate as craft beer have a more recent history that is currently turning into a booming industry. To put this boom into perspective: in the late 1970’s, there was estimated to be around 44 breweries in the United States. And by the end of 2013 there were a total of 2,882 breweries, with craft breweries accounting for 2,768 of the total. This astonishing growth has a lot to do with a shift in the demand from generic beers produced by industry leaders (Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors, Pabst, etc.) to locally crafted beers that offer a better tasting, higher quality beer. Also, there have been some mergers and acquisitions between larger beer companies and smaller ones (IBISWorld, 2015).

Between 2010-2015, there was an annual growth of 18.8% with total industry revenues of 5 billion. this 5 billion represents a 400% growth since 2005. Currently, there are 374 businesses and 18932 employees (IBISWorld, 2015).

Our goal is to educate the general public about regional craft breweries, with a focus on their business model. Over the next couple of weeks we will be putting various craft breweries in the Hampton Roads area under the spotlight (“Beer of the Week”), providing our readers with a company description, highlights of our tour to the brewery, personal beer ratings, among other relevant information.


IBISWorld (2015 August). Craft Beer Production in the U.S. Market Research Report.   Retrieved from