Some interesting Beer Statistics

These statistics come from the Brewers Association:

US Breweries as of July 31, 2009

962 Brewpubs
456 Microbreweries
64 Regional Craft Breweries
1,482 Total US Craft Breweries

20 Large Breweries
23 Other Breweries
1,525 Total US Breweries

And because I can’t keep this news to myself, here’s some statistics regarding sales:

  • Growth of the craft brewing industry in the first half of 2009 was 5% by volume and 9% by dollars.
  • Overall US beer sales are down 1.3% in the first 6 months of 2009.
  • Imported beer sales are down 9.5% in the first 6 months

So, overall beer sales are down, but craft brewing sales and production is up. I wonder who is losing money and marketshare?

My purely anecdotal guess is this – Twenty to thirty years ago, imported beers were seen as the exotic alternative to Budweiser, Miller’s and Coor’s. Brands such as Heineken, Molson, and other imported lagers were the beer of choice for consumer who was looking for something different.

Nowadays, what with the American palate for beer becoming more diverse, the definition of ‘exotic’ has now changed. It’s not enough for a beer to be from a different country. A beer now has to be uniquely different from a beer that is offered from the InBev or MillersCoors. Another light lager option no longer piques a beer consumers curiosity.

But a hoppy IPA, a dark dry stout, or a malty tripel? These beers are dramatically different from the light lager options, and provide something unique for the casual beer drinker looking to find something new. If I had to guess where the beer industry is failing, I’d first look toward the light lager imports.