Number of US breweries at 125-year high
The total number of US breweries now stands at 2,126, an increase of 350 additional breweries from June 2011 and the most since 1887, according to figures released today by the US-based Brewers Association (BA).
The BA also reported 1,252 breweries are in planning to be created, compared to 725 a year ago.
Overall, craft brewing continued to experience strong sales growth in the first half of 2012, outpacing overall US beer sales, the BA said.
The mid-year data found a 14% increase in sales and 12% jump in volume in the first half of 2012 for small and independent US brewers.
By contrast, overall US beer ales are said to be up only 1% this year, with most of that growth due to the extra day on the calendar because this is a leap year.
Brewers Association president Paul Gatza said in an email that the group believes the high water mark for total number of breweries in the US was in the neighborhood of 4,000, achieved in 1873.
“Generally, most craft brewers are continuing to see strong growth in production, sales, brewing capacity and employment, which is to be celebrated during challenged times for many of today’s small businesses,”Gatza said.
“Plus it’s a fact that beer drinkers are responding to the quality and diversity created by small American brewing companies. India pale ales, seasonal beers, Belgian-inspired ales and a range of specialty beers are just a few of the beer styles that are growing rapidly.”