The Brewers Association, the trade association representing the majority of U.S. brewing companies, released 2010 data on the U.S. craft brewing industry. Small and independent craft brewers saw volume increase 11 percent and retail sales dollars increase 12 percent over 2009, representing a growth of more than 1 million barrels (31 gallons per U.S. barrel), equal to more than 14 million new craft cases.
"Beer lovers increased their appreciation for American craft brewers and their beers in 2010," says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. "Craft brewers' stories resonate with Americans who are choosing small, independent companies making delicious beers in more than 100 different styles."
The Association also reported a growth in the number of U.S. breweries, with 8 percent more breweries than the previous year. In 2010, there were 1,759 operating breweries. Craft brewers produced 9,951,956 barrels, up from an adjusted 8,934,446 barrels in 2009.
"Prohibition caused a dramatic decline in the number of breweries in the United States, but the number of breweries is now at an all-time high," Gatza says. "With well over 100 new brewery openings in 2010, plus 618 breweries in planning stages, all signs point to continued growth for the industry."
In 2010, craft brewers represented 4.9 percent of volume and 7.6 percent of retail dollars of the total U.S. beer category. The Brewers Association estimates the actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2010 was $7.6 billion, up from $7 billion in 2009.
Overall, the U.S. beer industry represented an estimated retail dollar value of $101 billion. U.S. beer sales were down approximately 1 percent, or 2 million barrels, in 2010 compared to being down 2.2 percent in 2009. Total beer industry barrels dropped to 203.6 million, down from 205.7 million barrels in 2009. Imports were up 5 percent in 2010, compared to being down 9.8 percent in 2009.
"We also found that 3 percent of craft brewer barrels, by volume, are distributed in cans, confirming a growing trend,” Gatza says.
A more extensive analysis will be released on March 24 during the Craft Brewers Conference in San Francisco.