2016 was an amazing year for Craft Beer and the brewing community is very proud of everything it has accomplished. The numbers alone are hard to believe sometimes but the brewery count in the U.S. has gone past 5,000 and 99% of those breweries are small, independent craft breweries. In California we have topped 700 Craft Breweries which is more than any other state and new breweries are still opening at a fast pace!
India Pale Ales are still the most popular style of Craft Beer and account for nearly one-quarter of the beer produced in the United States. 2016 also saw the growth of other styles of beer such as Sours and Barrel-Aged beers. Sessionable beers (beers that are lower in alcohol such as golden ales, pilsners, and pale lagers) are also becoming more popular.
One thing that was not overlooked by the Craft Brewing industry is the merger of the two largest brewers to form a multi-national conglomerate. Anheiser Busch InBev merging with SAB Miller/Coors has created a company that will control over a third of the world’s beer market. Even with the merger, small and independent craft breweries grew by 8% in the U.S.! Studies have shown that beer enthusiasts love the choices that Craft Beer has to offer so “big beer” is still losing in the marketplace.
There was a rising interest in “Beer Destinations” and nearly 10 million people have toured small, independent breweries across the U.S. in 2016. Craft Beer continues to grow so here’s to a great 2017! Cheers!