Brewers Association Releases Annual Craft Brewing Industry Production Report for 2020

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Apr 6, 2021 at 3:26 PM.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,314) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    Numbers reveal all-time high of operating breweries, first production decline in modern craft era

    Boulder, Colo. • April 06, 2021 — The Brewers Association (BA)—the trade association representing small and independent(1) American craft brewers—today released annual production figures for the U.S. craft brewing industry.(2) In 2020, small and independent brewers collectively produced 23.1 million barrels of beer and realized a 9% decline,(3) decreasing craft’s overall beer market share by volume to 12.3%, down from 13.6% the previous year.

    The overall beer market* dropped 3% by volume in 2020. Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.2 billion, representing 23.6% market share and a 22% decline over 2019. Craft brewers provided more than 138,371 direct jobs, a 14% decrease from 2019.

    “2020 was obviously a challenging year for many small brewers, but also one that proved their resilient and entrepreneurial nature,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “In a year where U.S. draught sales were down more than 40%, small brewers found new ways to connect with their customers and keep their businesses running.”


    Download the infographic here.

    The number of operating craft breweries continued to climb in 2020, reaching an all-time high of 8,764, including 1,854 microbreweries, 3,219 brewpubs, 3,471 taproom breweries, and 220 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 716 new brewery openings and 346 closings. While openings decreased approximately 30% compared to 2019, only half of this drop is attributed to COVID. Increasing market competitiveness and maturity were also factors, and the decline was apparent before the pandemic.

    “While many small breweries will remain under pressure until they can fully reopen and welcome their communities into their breweries, the 2020 closing rate has remained on par with 2019, suggesting that the vast majority of breweries will survive going forward,” added Watson.

    Note: Numbers are preliminary. For additional insights from Bart Watson, visit Insights & Analysis on the Brewers Association website. The full 2020 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2021 issue of The New Brewer, highlighting regional trends and production by individual breweries.

    * Does not include FMBs/FSBs. With those included, total taxed-as-beer products up 1%.

    (1) An American craft brewer is a small and independent brewer. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3% of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Brewer: Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.

    (2) Absolute figures reflect the dynamic craft brewer data set as specified by the craft brewer definition. Growth numbers are presented on a comparable base. See full methodology.

    (3) Volume by craft brewers represent total taxable production.

  2. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Crusader (798) Dec 12, 2014 Chile

    Expected in pandemic times that people will consume cheaper beer. Hope 2021 is a better year for craft
    BrewsOverHoes likes this.
  3. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,745) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Wow, the decline has been foretold but I didn't expect to see it so dramatically so soon

    Wonder how much of that is temporary?
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,930) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “The overall beer market* dropped 3% by volume in 2020.”


    “* Does not include FMBs/FSBs. With those included, total taxed-as-beer products up 1%.”

    So, if the beer and FMBs/FSBs are added together there was actual growth in 2020. It sure seems like beverages like Hard Seltzers, Hard Teas, etc. are now a driving force in the market.

    I recently read in a thread about Stone introducing a Hard Seltzer product line. When the beer business who eschewed “fizzy yellow beer” is deciding to produce something even ‘less’ (Hard Seltzer) well that sure seems to be a sign of the times.

    Foyle and jasonmason like this.
  5. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (189) Oct 6, 2004 California

    I think it is very important that the Brewer's Association/BA/other industry sources do not include the sales of FMBs in within the beer market numbers, regardless of whether they are produced by a 'craft brewer' or not. Growth of FMBs is absolutely NOT growth in the craft beer; they are two entirely different products. I'm glad to see the Brewer's Association doing this (at least for now...) and acknowledging a sales decline, rather than trying to gloss it over with FMB numbers.

    As to Stone, their introducing hard seltzer is just one more example of them becoming everything they (and craft beer at large) once railed against. It's still sad, but I no longer care enough about them to have my ire raised.
    Bitterbill and Foyle like this.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,930) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I agree.

    But with the asterisk they 'acknowledge' there are other Malt/Seltzer Beverages that are part of the overall Malt Beverage market and these other products seem to be selling well.
    And given that craft beer sales were down for 2020 I would not be surprised if other brewing companies make similar decisions to produce 'alternative' beverages.

    As I commented above: "a sign of the times".

  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,176) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Problem is, it would have to be "self-reported" by their member breweries to the Brewers Association since, legally, a lot of FMBs as well as some hard seltzers (I think ?) are consider by the TTB as the same "type/style" as many of the flavored beers so popular among the geekery:
  8. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (7,279) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    A 9% decline in volume, but 22% decline in "retail dollar value".

    2020 would have had less draft beer sales than 2019. Does "retail" include bar and restaurant sales? If so, I guess this is the drop between the "retail dollar value" of a pint of beer sold on draft vs. packaged?
  9. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (189) Oct 6, 2004 California

    Good point.

    Maybe the Brewer's Association could require that sort of reporting in order for statistical inclusion or something, though I realize that's a long shot. I just feel like the inclusion of a non-beer product that is absolutely exploding is going to seriously skew actual craft beer numbers, and needs to somehow be accounted for.