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Craft Beer Tops 25 Million Barrels, With Local Breweries Leading Growth

March 29, 2018

Craft beer growth slowed again in 2017 on a percentage basis, but the category still advanced by 5% to 25.4 million barrels in the U.S. last year, according to the Brewers Association, as consumers continued to gravitate toward local craft brewers. Craft beer, which represented 12.7% of the U.S. beer market by value in 2017, outperformed the overall beer category, which contracted by 1% to roughly 196 million barrels. Meanwhile, craft beer’s retail value rose 8% to $26 billion last year, representing a 23.4% share of the total beer market.

Craft’s current growth is concentrated at the local level, with small brewpubs and microbreweries outperforming larger regional breweries, said Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association. He added that growth is fastest in states with fewer breweries per capita, like Texas, Florida, and Tennessee, and that consumer interest in local breweries has been increasing as more options become available. Taproom and brewery sales, according to Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau data, were among the most vibrant areas of the market last year, rising by 20%, or 400,000 barrels, to reach a total of 2.4 million barrels. —Shane English

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