Stellar year for US craft beer: $14.3bn sales in 2013


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Stellar year for US craft beer: $14.3bn sales in 2013

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US craft brewers grew their domestic market share to 7.8% of total beer volumes in 2013 as the Brewers Association insists drinkers are increasingly keen on fuller flavored local brews.

The Brewers Association (BA), which represents craft brewers, released its 2013 data yesterday showing that craft beer volumes rose 18% to 15.6m barrels.

Retail sales rose 20% to an estimated $14.3bn in 2013, while craft dollar share of the total US beer market hit 14.3%.

Rising production and sales

“With this stellar year, craft has now averaged 10.9 percent growth over the last decade,”​ said Bart Watson, staff economist, Brewers Association.

“Beer drinkers are excited about what small and independent brewers are offering and that is evidenced by the rising production and sales of the craft segment,”​ he added.

The BA said that 2,768 ‘craft breweries’ currently operate in the US out of 2,822 in total.

The association has strict rules on what it considers an ‘American craft brewer’ to be, defining one in broad terms as “small, independent and traditional”​, which means that the likes of Goose Island Brewery (owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev) does not qualify under the BA's rules, although it still markets itself as a craft brewer.

Craft not crafty! Craft brewers defined

Here are the other three membership rules an applicant must pass:

SMALL:​ Annual production of 6m barrels of beer or less.

INDEPENDENT:​ Less than 25% of craft brewery owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol 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.

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