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Ah, Beer. The Rise of Craft Beer in America

Ah, Beer. The Rise of Craft Beer in America

Here at Tundra we love beer, and according to the Brewers Association, we’re not alone. There are 2,347 craft breweries across the country, providing an estimated 100,000 part-time and full-time jobs.  These stats are amazing, especially because overall beer sales numbers have decreased across the board… except in craft beer’s case, which saw a 15% increase in 2012! According to Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association:

“Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended for the beverage of moderation. There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country.”

I’ve learned that craft beer is many different things to many different people.  American tastes are changing, consider coffee, tea, cheese, chocolate, bread, and (yes) beer. American consumers increasingly want choices of flavor in the foods that they buy.

  • Quality: Small and independent craft brewers are known for being passionate and innovative makers of full-flavored beer.
  • Taste: It may be opinion, but craft beer enthusiasts report craft beer simply tastes better than mass produced, mass marketed beer brands.
  • More Alcohol: Craft beers come in many shapes and sizes, but one thing remains the same – they pack the punch! Most craft beers range from 5-10% alcohol by volume. Some craft beers can even reach 20%+ alcohol by volume.
  • Choices: With over 2,000 craft breweries across the country, there are literally thousands of delicious, flavorful craft beers to try!
  • Health Benefits: I questioned this one, but like red wine, craft beer does offer some health benefits (moderation is key). Craft beer contains soluble fiber, B vitamins, a range of antioxidants, and is also a rich source of silicon.

Craft Beer Market Segments

The craft beer industry is defined by 4 distinct market segments: microbreweries, brewpubs, contract brewing companies and regional craft breweries.

  • Microbrewery: A brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year with 75% or more of its beer sold off-site.
  • Brewpub: A restaurant-brewery that sells 25% or more of its beer on-site. The beer is brewed primarily for sale in the restaurant and bar.
  • Contract Brewing Company: A business that hires another brewery to produce its beer. It can also be a brewery that hires another brewery to produce additional beer. The contract brewing company handles marketing, sales, and distribution of its beer, while generally leaving the brewing and packaging to its producer-brewery.
  • Regional Brewery: A brewery with an annual beer production of between 15,000 and 6,000,000 barrels.
  • Regional Craft Brewery: An independent regional brewery who has either an all malt flagship or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance, rather than lighten, the flavor.

Craft beer distributors face uphill battles when it comes to distribution laws, and other post prohibition regulations, but American consumers continue to turn to craft beers. Whether it’s for taste, quality, alcohol content, health benefits, choices, or all five, we expect to see this food service segment to continue to grow through 2013.

Share your comments, what do you love about craft beer?

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