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US craft beer ‘moving into mainstream’

US craft breweries are now opening at a rate of 1.5 every day with the country’s brewery count reaching an all-time high in 2014.

US craft breweries are now opening at a rate of 1.5 every day

In November, the number of operating US breweries crossed 3,200 with 13 states now home to more than 100 breweries each, according to an end of year review by the Brewers Association. Furthermore, there are currently more than 2,000 breweries in planning.

“It’s remarkable to see how beer has evolved in the past century. Year over year we’re seeing tremendous growth in the craft beer sector and 2014 proved that craft beer is moving into the mainstream,” said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association. “Consumers are making a conscious choice to buy and try the plethora of options produced by small and independent craft brewers.”

Through to June 2014, US craft brewers grew by 18% in volume, with continuing double-digit growth for craft in the second half of the year predicted. India Pale Ales remained the most popular craft beer style with sales up 47% by volume and 49% by value, accounting for 21% of the craft beer market by volume. Sales of variety packs of craft beer grew by 21% in volume and 24% by value, taking a 9% volume and 7% value share of the craft market. According to the report, women consume almost 32% of craft beer volume, almost half of which comes from women aged 21 to 34.

“More and more breweries will spur innovation, meaning there will be even more offerings on hand for beer geeks and beginners to enjoy,” Watson added. “Not to mention more opportunities to explore and support local breweries, which has a profound impact on the economy at the regional, state and national level.”

The industry’s continued success has seen craft beer begin to outshine big beer brewers such as Budweiser, with craft beer shipments outnumbering those of Budweiser for the first time in 2013. In response, global brewers such as AB InBev have been snapping up craft brewers in a bid to get a hold on the fast-growing craft beer market. 

A comprehensive review of US craft beer production will be released by the Brewers Association in March 2015. The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association that represents small and independent American brewers.

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