A couple of Mountain Standard IPA’s line a tabletop at Odell Brewing company in December 2019. Joel Blocker / For BizWest

Brewer’s Association: Craft brewery production in 2019 matches last year’s 4% growth

BOULDER — American craft breweries increased their production volume by 4% in 2019, matching the industry’s growth in 2018, but face a dire set of weeks ahead as the COVID-19 virus craters in-person beer sales.

The 2019 report from the Brewer’s Association released this week estimated independent brewers made 26.3 million barrels of craft beer last year, up 800,000 barrels from the year prior. Overall domestic beer production fell by 1.5% last year to 191.2 million barrels.

An additional 693 breweries opened up across the country in 2019 to put the total at 8,275.

Production figures for craft breweries are likely to drop somewhat in 2020 as New Belgium Brewing Co., the fourth-largest craft producer by volume last year, sold itself to a subsidiary of Japanese brewing giant Kirin in December.

Meanwhile, the ongoing closure of taprooms across much of the U.S. to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus is posing an existential threat, particularly to brewers who rely on in-person sales.

“Obviously, 2019 stats may feel somewhat out of touch in a world where things have shifted rapidly, but I think publishing this data set will allow us a good foundation to understand some of the changes that we’re experiencing in 2020 and understand really where craft brewing was at the end of 2019, as we begin to evaluate some of the changes that have occurred to the industry and society more broadly this year,” BA economist Bart Watson said in a prepared statement.

Survey data from the Brewer’s Association earlier this month shows the average brewery has lost 66% of revenue in the past several weeks, with some reporting a full 100% drop in sales.

Of the survey respondents, 46% said their breweries have the ability to survive only between one to three months, and 12.7% said they would go under by the end of the month. About 2.5% of respondents said they were already planning to close permanently, which could mean more than 200 breweries nationwide.

© 2020 BizWest Media LLC

BOULDER — American craft breweries increased their production volume by 4% in 2019, matching the industry’s growth in 2018, but face a dire set of weeks ahead as the COVID-19 virus craters in-person beer sales.

The 2019 report from the Brewer’s Association released this week estimated independent brewers made 26.3 million barrels of craft beer last year, up 800,000 barrels from the year prior. Overall domestic beer production fell by 1.5% last year to 191.2 million barrels.

An additional 693 breweries opened up across the country in 2019 to put the total at 8,275.

Production figures for craft breweries are likely to drop somewhat in 2020 as New Belgium Brewing Co., the fourth-largest craft producer by volume last year, sold itself to a subsidiary of Japanese brewing giant Kirin in December.

Meanwhile, the ongoing closure of taprooms across much of the U.S. to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus is posing an existential threat, particularly to brewers who rely on in-person sales.

“Obviously, 2019 stats may feel somewhat out of touch in a world where things have shifted rapidly, but I think publishing this data set will allow us a good foundation to understand some of the changes that we’re experiencing in 2020 and understand really where craft brewing was at the end of 2019, as we begin to evaluate some of the changes that have occurred to the industry and society more broadly this year,” BA economist Bart Watson said in a prepared…