Craft beer numbers still climbing

Craft beer numbers still climbing
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Craft beer* continues to flow like … well, craft beer.

Earlier this month the Brewers Association, the craft beer industry’s national trade group, released its annual “State of the Industry” report at the Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia. Craft beer in 2015 owned a 12.2 percent volume share of the U.S. beer market, up from 11 percent in 2014 and almost double its 6.5 percent share from 2012.

In addition to its increased market share, craft beer claimed a 21 percent dollar share of all beer purchased in the U.S. in 2015, good for an estimated $22.3 billion sales, a 16 percent increase from 2014.

Again, that’s $22.3 BILLION.

Other numbers and notes of interest from the State of the Industry report:

  • The United States is now home to 4,269 breweries — the most at any time in American history, according to the Brewers Association — of which 4,225 are craft breweries. In 2015, 620 new craft breweries opened their doors. Last year saw 68 craft breweries close.


  • Not only are new breweries opening, current breweries are expanding and/or increasing production. Nearly half — 49 percent — of craft breweries increased brewing capacity by at least 10 percent. More than a quarter increased brewing capacity by 50 percent or more.


  • Total beer production from U.S. craft breweries increased 13 percent between 2014 and 2015, up to 24.5 million beer barrels.


  • Craft breweries accounted for nearly 122,000 jobs according to the Brewers Association study, an increase of more than 6,000 jobs from 2014.


  • Hops still rule the market. IPAs accounted for 26.5 percent of every dollar spent on craft beer in 2015. Seasonals made up almost 14 percent, followed by pale ales (9.3 percent), variety packs (7 percent), fruit/veggie/spiced beers (5 percent) and amber ales (4.7 percent).

According to numbers from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Oregon ended 2015 with 218 breweries, an increase of 15 breweries from the end of 2014. In 2010, Oregon had just 94 breweries reporting sales to the OLCC.

Led by Bend’s Deschutes Brewing, Oregon had four breweries land on the Brewers Association’s Top 50 Craft Brewing List, a compilation of the country’s top-producing craft breweries. Deschutes was eighth at 345,689 beer barrels, Full Sail Brewing out of Hood River was 31st (115,450 beer barrels), Rouge Ales Brewery from Newport was 34th (105,961) and Eugene’s Ninkasi Brewing finished 36th (100,849).

Rounding out the top-10 Oregon breweries in terms of craft beer production were Eugene’s Hop Valley Brewing (39,522 beer barrels), Laurelwood Public House and Brewery in Portland (26,527), Bend’s Boneyard Beer Co. (24,490), McMenamins Breweries (23,511), GoodLife Brewing, also out of Bend (18,471) and Portland’s Breakside Brewery (14,901).

Note, 10 Barrel Brewing and Widmer Brothers Brewing are not on the list as they do not fit the definition of a craft brewery set by the Brewers Association.

Oregon as a whole produced 1,081,152 beer barrels of craft beer in 2015, almost 5 percent of all craft beer brewed in the U.S.


Here’s the complete list of the top 50 U.S. craft breweries:



*Craft beer as defined by the Brewers Association is as follows: An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

Graphics and photo courtesy of the Brewers Association.

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