The Brewers Association, a trade organization dedicated to supporting and supplying information about the craft beer industry, has released its mid-year report on the health of the industry. In the first half of 2015, American craft beer production volume increased 16 percent according to the group’s press release.
From January through the end of June 2015, approximately 12.2 million barrels of beer were sold by craft brewers, up from 10.6 million barrels during the first half of 2014.
“Industry growth is occurring in all regions and stemming from a mix of sources including various retail settings and a variety of unique brewery business models,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “The continued growth of small and independent brewers illustrates that additional market opportunities and demand are prevalent, although competition in the sector is certainly growing and the need for brewers to differentiate and produce world class high quality beer is more important than ever.”
In addition to the phenomenal increase in production, new brewery openings are occurring at a break-neck pace. As of June 30, 2015, 3,739 breweries were operating in the U.S, an increase of 699 breweries over the same time period of the previous year. Additionally, there were 1,755 breweries in planning. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 115,469 full-time and part-time workers, many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.
“More and more Americans are discovering the joys of enjoying fresh beer produced by their neighborhood brewery. By supporting local, small and independent craft breweries, beer lovers are gradually returning the United States to the system of localized beer production that existed for much of our nation’s history,” added Watson.