2016 Craft Beer Year in Review from the Brewers Association

A Big Year for Small Beer

BOULDER, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#ba–Reflecting on the significant impact of small and independent craft
breweries in 2016, the Brewers
—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small
and independent
American brewers—looked back on the defining beer
moments of 2016.

“In the face of numerous opportunities and challenges in 2016, small and
independent craft brewers continue to thrive,” said Bart Watson, chief
economist, Brewers Association. “This community should be very proud of
what it has accomplished and how far it has come.”


Of note in 2016:

  • Brewery Count: Five thousand strong and growing, there are now
    5,005 breweries in the U.S. compared to 10,000 wineries. Almost all
    (99%) are small and independent craft brewers.
  • Continued Growth for the Segment: By mid-year, small and
    independent breweries grew
    by eight percent
    , reflecting dynamism and a bright spot for the
    domestic beer market.
  • Never Go Out of Styles: IPAs continue to hop up, now accounting
    for roughly one-quarter of craft volume. More sessionable styles,
    including golden ales, pilseners and pale lagers, are up 33 percent,
    totaling nearly five percent of craft.
  • Freedom of Choice: As the world’s two largest brewers merged
    into a multinational conglomerate two and a half times the size of the
    U.S. beer market, the BA was at the center of the discussion,
    advocating for fair
    for the nation’s small and independent craft brewers
    and access to market ensuring beer enthusiasts get to continue to choose
    from a vast variety of options. Approximately 65 percent of craft beer
    lovers said they are drinking more craft specifically because it
    offers more variety.
  • Homebrewing Impact: The National Homebrew Competition continues
    to be the world’s largest beer competition with 7,962 entries. A
    recent measurement of homebrewing
    found that its 1.2 million participants created over 11,000 jobs,
    resulting in more than $1 billion in spending and over $700 million in
  • Beer Destinations: Recognizing a rising interest in beer
    tourism, Travelocity enlisted the expertise of the BA to find the
    country’s best beer destinations and create the very first Beer
    Tourism Index
    . Additionally, the American Homebrewers Association
    (AHA)—the leading community for homebrewers—unveiled a list of cities
    across the U.S. where homebrewing
    is on the rise
  • American Craft Beer Abounds Abroad: Craft
    beer export volume
    increased by 16.3 percent, totaling 446,151
    barrels and worth $116 million. More than 100 small and independent
    craft brewers export their beer internationally, spreading the culture
    and community of craft beer and a growing recognition and respect for
    American brewers.
  • Bipartisan Beer Support: With a craft brewery in nearly every
    congressional district in the country, more than half of the U.S.
    Congress now supports the Craft
    Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act
    . The BA has been a key
    player in moving forward this bipartisan legislation that seeks to
    recalibrate the current federal excise tax structure for the nation’s
    brewers and reform burdensome laws regulating America’s brewing
  • History Has Its Eyes on Beer: With support from the Brewers
    Association, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
    announced that it will launch a three-year
    to collect, document and preserve the history of
    brewing, craft brewers and the beer industry in America. The job
    posting for a Historian to study brewing history was one of the most
    viral beer stories of the year, an indicator of how much people care
    about this vital industry.
  • Perfect Pair: Beer and food continue to find harmony on plates
    and palates. Seventy-three percent of craft beer purchasers gave
    “complements my meal” as a very or somewhat important selection
    criteria in their beer choice when dining out. Sixty-three percent
    select beer based on the food item or meal they are planning to enjoy.

“This has been an exponentially exciting year as the beer community
continues to grow and evolve. It is incredible to watch local brewers
innovate and validate the new way the world views the U.S. beer scene,”
said Julia Herz, craft beer program director, Brewers Association. “Much
of the dialogue in 2016 centered around the craft brewer definition, who
qualifies as a small and independent brewer, what independence means to
beer lovers, beer quality and beer appreciation. We will renew our
efforts in 2017 on behalf of our members and the beer drinkers around
the world and continue to advance the amazing beverage of beer.”

Note: Figures are a compilation of data provided by the Brewers
Association, IRI Group and Nielsen and do not represent all craft beer
sales. The Brewers Association will release a comprehensive annual
analysis of craft brewer production in March of 2017.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association
dedicated to small
and independent
American brewers, their beers and the community of
brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than
70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99
percent of the beer brewed in the U.S. The BA organizes events including
the World
Beer CupSM
American Beer Festival®
Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®
An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
, Homebrew
, National
Homebrew Competition
 and American
Craft Beer Week
®. The BA publishes The
New Brewer
magazine and its Brewers
 division is the largest publisher of contemporary and
relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.

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
mobile app. Follow us on Twitter.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not
discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender,
religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or
marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive
Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the
Secretary of Labor.


On behalf of the Brewers Association
Abby Berman Cohen,