Craft brewers still upping market share

BOULDER – American craft brewers increased production volume by 18 percent in 2013 generating a 20 percent increase in retail dollar value, according to figures released Monday by the Boulder-based Brewers Association, the trade group representing small and independent American craft brewers.

The production figure represents a total of 15.6 million barrels, the association reported in a press statement.

U.S. craft brewing continues to be a primary driver of growth in the beer industry, the association statement said, recording 7.8 percent volume of the total U.S. beer market in 2013, up from 6.5 percent the previous year. It estimated retail dollar value from craft brewers at $14.3 billion, up from $11.9 billion in 2012.

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

The number of operating breweries in the United States in 2013 totaled 2,822, with 2,768 of those considered craft, the association reported, adding that craft breweries make up 98 percent of all U.S. operating breweries. This count includes 413 new brewery openings and 44 closings. Combined with already existing and established breweries and brewpubs, craft brewers provided 110,273 jobs, an increase of almost 2,000 from the previous year.

“Openings of brewing facilities continue to far outpace closings, demonstrating that the demand for high-quality, local, fuller-flavored beers is only increasing,” Watson said. “The geographic diversity of openings and production growth shows the national nature of this movement. In towns all across the country, craft brewers are creating jobs, delivering innovative products, advancing the beverage of beer and strengthening their local economies.”

The association’s database lists 363 breweries in Colorado, including 35 in Boulder, 20 in Fort Collins, 10 in Longmont, nine in Loveland and eight in Greeley.

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