The Brewers Association, the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, recently released annual production figures for the US craft brewing industry. In 2022, small and independent brewers collectively produced 24.3 million barrels of beer, which is on par with 2021’s figures. Craft’s overall beer market share by volume grew to 13.2 percent, up from 13.1 percent the previous year.
The overall beer market shrank three percent by volume in 2022. Retail dollar value was estimated at $28.4 billion, representing a 24.6 percent market share and six percent growth over 2021. Sales growth was stronger than volume due to pricing, share shift to smaller brewers, who are more likely to sell onsite and via distributed draught, as well as the continued channel shift back to on-premises, which has a higher average retail value. Craft brewers provided 189,413 direct jobs, a nine percent increase from 2021, driven both by growth in the number of breweries and a continued shift to hospitality-focused business models.
“2022 presented small brewers with a number of challenges, including rising operating and material costs and increasing competition, particularly in distribution,” said Bart Watson, Chief Economist, Brewers Association. “In this maturing and competitive market, collective growth for the category is hard to come by.”
The number of operating craft breweries continued to climb in 2022, reaching an all-time high of 9552, including 2035 microbreweries, 3418 brewpubs, 3838 taproom breweries, and 261 regional craft breweries. The total US operating brewery count was 9709, up from 9384 in 2021. Throughout the year, there were 549 new brewery openings and 319 closings. Openings decreased for a second consecutive year, with the continued decline reflecting a more mature market. The closing rate increased in 2022 but continued to remain relatively low, at approximately three percent.
“The relatively low closure rate reflects both the solid demand for fuller flavored local beer as well as the versatility and flexibility of small brewers,” added Bart.
In addition, the Brewers Association also released its annual list of the top 50 producing craft brewing companies and overall brewing companies in the US, based on beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies in 2022, 40 were small and independent craft brewing companies.
“Breweries that managed to move up the list organically are often those that are adding incremental growth to the category,” said Bart. “Both beer and craft need to create new occasions and new beer lovers to find growth.”
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. It represents 5600-plus US breweries. The Brewers Association’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers from small and independent craft brewers. The association organizes events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition, and American Craft Beer Week. It also publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the US.