The Brewers Association is reporting that craft brewing is the fastest growing segment of the alcohol industry. With 17.8% growth in 2006, it eclipse’s big beer’s 2.4%, and it’s darn close to double wine’s growth.
Check out the chart below.
Admittedly craft brewing is a tiny fraction of the overall alcohol market, and even among craft brewers there’s just a handful that produce the lion’s share of the beer (78% of the craft beer sold is produced by just 50 of the 1400 craft breweries in the country), but still, 18% growth is nothing to shake a stick at.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the data for this chart is based on supermarket receipts and not liquor store, specialty store and restaurant receipts — all of which are more likely to carry and sell craft brews (especially locally produced craft brews) than the local megamarket. But nonetheless, I think it’s a positive sign.
The one thing I wouldn’t want to see come out of this is some sort of market collapse like we saw with the “dot bomb” bust in 2000. Back then there were too many mediocre companies fueled by speculative money chasing a fickle market with a short attention span. Same could happen here. We’ve got a lot of people brewing beer all chasing limited shelf space and a target market that may well get tired of beer and move on to… I don’t know… fermented carrot juice.
Then again, we may just be returning to a period when all your best beers are brewed locally for local tastes.
I hope that’s the case.
» Read the full story (also includes data on the 50 largest breweries)