The Brewers Association just released the numbers from 2015 growth. Let’s look over them a bit and see what we can glean. At the end of 2015 the US was at a record high, 4,269 breweries and held a 12.2% volume market share. The BA said their goal is to have 20% volume market share by 2020. That 12.2% was a 1.2% increase over 2014. But 2014 was a big jump at 3.2%! What will 2016 provide?
While the number of breweries is much higher in 2015, the growth over the year prior has actually slowed by 4% (15% vs. 19%.) Between 2014 and 2015 the total beer market increased by $4.8 billion or an increase of 4.7%. The craft beer industry grew by 16% in that time. That’s down from a 22% increase from 2014 to 2015.
If the BA hopes to get to 20% volume market share by 2020, the industry must average 1.95% between 2016 and the beginning of 2020. This means we’re going to have to see another spike in volume in 2016 that surpasses 2015. And again in the years that follow. THAT is ambitious. The craft market would be relying on a slowing number of breweries to increase their volume to a point that would overcome that slowdown.
I’d like some clarification from the BA on some of their numbers as well. They say there are “4,225 craft breweries” at the end of 2015 and “44 Other breweries.” What are “other breweries”? If they’re not “craft” then what? I’d like to know if their 2015 numbers include those breweries that were bought out by Big Beer. If craft loses Firestone, Elysian, Ballast, et al, that 20% will be even less likely to be hit, right? Are those the “other” breweries?
Also, we recently reported on some new stats by the company Kinnek that showed a slowdown in many standard brewery items like brewhouses, kegs and pints.
My thoughts: The craft industry will not get to 20% volume market share by 2020. I think that 3.2% jump between 2013 and 2014 was the big push and unless there is a considerable change in the market, averaging nearly 2% volume growth per year is going to be hard to sustain. I’m calling for 16.5%, or ~1% volume increase per year. I also think the definition of what craft is by that time will also be shifting. Saying 20% with a market that looks like it does now, is going to be very different than 2020.
But who cares? Craft is doing what it does and doing it well and it’s fair to say we’re all enjoying it. It is not only changing an entire market, it is doing something much much better, it has created its own culture.
Numbers and press release below.