Report: Craft Beer Growth ‘Stable’ in 2018

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Growth for small and independent craft brewers has remained stable for the first half of 2018. Production volume for the craft segment increased five percent during the first half of this year.

This according to new midyear metrics released by the Brewers Association, the nonprofit trade association dedicated to small and independent U.S. brewers.

“While more mature, the market continues to show demand for small and independent craft brewers,” says Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “There are certainly industry headwinds, but this stabilized growth rate is reflective of the market realities that exist for brewers today.”

As of June 30, there were 6,655 active breweries — up from 5,562 during a comparable timeframe last year. An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 breweries are in planning, based on active Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau licenses.

“The data demonstrate that 2018 is on pace to have the highest number of brewery openings and closings to date. However, even as breweries close, openings continue to far outpace the number that shutter,” adds Watson. “New players looking to enter the space should be aware of the constructs of the current landscape, work to differentiate themselves and will need to make quality beer to succeed.”