Numbers don’t lie and IPAs on the rise in 2013

With CBC (Craft Brewers Conference) happening last weekend in Denver, lots of data came out regarding  the last year in craft beer (yes, I said CRAFT beer). Numbers are going up in overall sales along with many new potential breweries in the planning. I briefly spoke with DH from Country Boy on some of the happenings and am glad to report many of our local breweries were able to send attendees.  So yes, Kentucky had a presence at CBC, even if it was Jerry Gnagy sneaking into the awards ceremony (featured image).

Louisville is showing thesame growth as well with Great Flood opening its doors and Rooster Brew down the road in Paris. I’m a numbers/stats geek, so let’s look at some…

(Disclaimer: This data is from the Brewers Association.  The BA receives the data from its members responding to surveys (not all breweries are members or participate), so yes there may be some asterisk or population sample errors…but its still good stuff..  I STRONGLY encourage you to visit the BA’s website to learn about the industry behind the liquid.  The term “We” is being associated with craft brewers.)

In 2013…

* We noted 2,866 craft breweries/brewpubs/microbrewery at the end of March 2014 (about 27xx around January 1st) with around 2ooo in planning!

Cue the “OMG the bubble is bursting” comments.  More craft breweries = more people drinking craft = a good thing.

* We saw 44 craft breweries close in 2013, but saw 413 open. We also saw 24 brewpubs close, but 109 open.  Last, 20 microbreweries closed, but 304 opened.

Breweries closing happen for many reasons from financial struggles, shitty business plans, or quite simply shitty beer.  Some of these new places will close as well, it’s the law of the jungle.

*Craft beer is up double digits for the 4th year in a row with a 18% increase from last year.

*Currently there are 110273 craft brewery jobs of the full and part-time nature.

843*Overall, the United States beer business is down again for the 5th year in a row (4% this year).  Losing to wine and spirits.

This is not a bad thing…keep reading.

*Over that same 5 year period, craft has seen a 80% growth.  Craft is making historic gains in the beer business.




*The “Lite’s” have lost 20% of their volume in five years (around 17.6 million barrels).

This is the equivalent of Sam Calagione repeatedly running over Spuds McKenzie in his Dogfishhead truck.

*Shock Top and Blue Moon are up 10% respectively.

Some agree, some disagree, but I view this as a good thing.  These are “gateway” beers which eventually can lead to craft beer drinking.  We all gotta have training wheels at some point in our lives…even if we have to spend money on AB or MC to get there.

* We’ve seen new states start to really discover craft.

There are now 51 state Guilds in United States and a proposed brewery in Ashland, KY. Enough said.

*Both large retailers and legislators are recognizing the value of craft beer.

Good beer can now be found in Kroger, Jeff Rice.  No longer can I jokingly say I found rare beer in Kroger…because it may eventually be true.

*Both ABInbev and MillerCoors were down 10%.


* The state of Colorado is currently on pace to open a taproom a week with it’s 232 total breweries and counting.

Currently, Chipotles are opening at the same consistency also. #pot

* We saw an 18% overall growth in craft since 2009.  15.6 million bbls were sold last year (up 2.3 million from the year prior)

* In 2012, there were 97 breweries over 15K barrels, in 2013 110 breweries!

* IPA saw a 51% volume growth and held the largest dollar share of beers (22%). Variety, Seasonal beers, and Pale Ales each held about 13% of the share.

The new IPA, is IPA.

* California saw 65 new breweries, Washington saw 25, and Oregon saw 43 open.  A little over a 20% growth for each state.

Where there is hops, there is beer.

With positivity comes concerns though.  With these increases in craft growth, come more trademark and naming disputes.  Some breweries handle these cordially, whereas some handle them forcefully.  Probably the largest concerning amongst breweries is quality as it pertains to beer.  Will these numerous breweries hinder the quality of the liquid we are consuming?  This is a question we don’t have answers for yet.

Craft beer dynamics are changing radically.  Once we think we can define a beer geek or a beer community, everything changes.  We have to adapt continuously to the chameleon-like industry known as craft brewing.

So grab a beer, kick back and relax because things are going well.




What's your take? Please comment below.