The Brewers Association released it's 2007 Craft beer industry stats earlier this week. I posted the press release below. After carefully soaking up the stats, I was amazed. 8 million barrels of craft beer is a whole lot of beer....and it only makes up 3% of total us beer sales. But the real amazing thing is that out of the 1,449 breweries in the US, 1,409 are craft brewers. So, 97% of the US brewery's, only produce 3% of the total barrels. I knew that the craft brewery sales made up a small portion of the beer market, but that's amazing. Brewpub closings were down 43% and since the brewpub is a restaurant, and restaurants have such a high failure rate, that is pretty impressive.
I think the greatest thing that I got from this, is that it makes you realize that you have a lot of great choices of beer out there. From coast to coast, there are lots of craft brewers are making lots of great quality beer for consumers like us to choose from. And unlike other industries, brewery's work together to help each other. From guest brewer series, to offering Hops to other brewers to lend a hand, the beer landscape should be called "the Craft Beer family" rather than the Craft Beer industry. I doubt Target would ever reach out and sell some cotton t-shirts to Wallmart if there was a cotton shortage. Hopefully this will help the Craft Beer Family break the misconception they all beer drinkers like watered down beer, watch nascar and eat domino's every night. That's not the case. Craft beer lovers are sophisticated, and have sophisticated palette's, like complex foods and watch other things than nascar.
The other day I heard a radio commercial from a local convenient store about their coffee. The "actor" bought a coffee, and the were asking him if because he drank that coffee if he liked beer instead of wine or trucks instead of sports cars (I'm not quoting it correctly) but when I heard the "beer instead of wine" comment I was taken back a bit. Why does mainstream America think wine is so much more sophisticated than beer. Is it the name? Or have the other 3% of the brewers in this industry tainted the image of beer drinkers? Either way, the Craft Beer Family is growing, and hopefully that will continue, because as a consumer I am very happy to have this many awesome choices when I go to my local beer store!
2008 will be a tough year for small craft brewers with the much talked about hop shortages, but seeing how the members of the Craft brewing family are already coming together to keep themselves strong during this crisis, I am very positive that they will find a way to get through the hard times and make some outstanding beers. Personally, I can't wait to see some of the new beers we get to choose from this year! I'm sure they will re-invent the Craft Beer landscape as we know it....and that is fine with me!