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2016 craft beer sales end flat

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The Alcohol and Tabacco Tax and Trade Bureau just released it’s Beer Statistical Report of December 2016. The numbers show (full report below) that domestic production for December was down approximately 200,000 barrels. The total volume for 2016 was down about 2.3million barrels, or a drop of 1.3%.

According to Bart Watson of the BA (see below), the whole craft sector will likely end about flat once they account for imports, which were about 2 million barrels. Total cans and bottles were down and, inventory was up, meaning breweries had more product stored at the end of 2016 then they did a the end of 2015.

The figures reflect essentially what we’ve reported on before: A craft beer market that is slowing, but not certainly not stopping. This should make those breweries still in planning consider what type of market they are entering and how that market’s evolution will impact their plans for distribution.

But many of these concerns are for larger regional breweries who rely less on the local market for their revenue. The trend has been towards smaller neighborhood breweries that have smaller distribution strategy with maybe 80% of their revenue coming from in house sales. Fight for shelf space in an already crowded and highly contentious distribution market isn’t as necessary for these newer smaller breweries. The BA will release their state by state stats soon.

Bart Watson, the stats man over at the Brewers Association, just sent out these tweets summing up the 2016 craft beer market.


About Scott Pelton

Scott Pelton
I'm Co-Owner of Bellingham Tap Trail, the Sales & Marketing Guru and the Editor of the Tap Trail Website. Let's have a pint! Email me at

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