Craft Beer Sales in the US – Statistics & Insights

The U.S. craft beer brewers are adapting to new realities of the industry’s mature landscape. Beer enthusiasts continue to support local independent and small community craft beer aficionados, and pressure on distributors has intensified with increased competition, according to The Brewers Association’s chief economist.

Recent statistics from the association depict a remarkable growth in the U.S. craft brewery count, wherein microbreweries ride the coattails of brewpubs. BA’s survey further finds that even as microbreweries and brewpubs close, openings will continue outpacing number that shutter.

Traditional giants such as Constellation Brands and Anheuser-Busch have acquired craft breweries such as Oregon and Ballast Point respectively, blurring the lines between non-craft and craft brewing companies. New participants, while working on differentiating themselves through quality beer production, are keeping track of constructs of the industry’s current landscape.

Craft beer sales are likely to grow at an average of 3% annually, as beer enthusiasts become more selective and explore different types of alcohol.

Brown Ale – Preferred Craft Beer among U.S. Consumers

U.S. consumers have shown a marked preference for brown ales, owing to the satisfaction offered by this amber ale, despite not been associated with flamboyant styles that wow craft beer enthusiasts. Consumer concerns regarding carcinogenic food coloring content in brown ales has led prominent manufacturers to change their recipe.

Players, including Heineken and Newcastle Brown Ale, have bowed to pressures from the U.S consumers’ anxiousness about the ingredient, despite it had been deemed harmless by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nearly US$ 620 Mn worth of brown ales were sold in 2017, with outlook likely to remain bullish through 2022.


Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Brown Ales 578.1 598.3 619.9 XX XX XX XX XX

(All values are in US million)


Small and Independent Craft Breweries Gain Ground

As the U.S. craft beer industry matures, demand for small and independent craft breweries is gaining momentum. The industry continues to face headwinds of consumer interest in exploring different alcohols, wine in particular, it is highly likely that growth remains stabilized by key aspects that uphold market at present.

Production volumes are on the rise in regional craft brewers, microbreweries, and brewpubs alike. However, this has entailed challenges for small breweries in succeeding their larger competitors, who are widespread across the region.

Scan data from the convenience stores and supermarkets, along with data from Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), according to BA, point at resurgent growth in “at-the-brewery sales” of craft beer.

Barrel-Aged and IPAs – Key U.S. Craft Beer Trends

Barrel-aging activity for craft beers ramped up in the recent past, which fast gained traction among consumers who sought attributes such as smooth, rich, and coffee flavored beers. Beers were being aged in oak barrels that include those holding Tequila, gin, and wine. Others that sought increased acceptance among consumers included elegant and more nuanced craft beers aged in oak barrels including various fruit flavors.

IPA style, along with its several iterations, continue to hold greater space among shelves of convenience stores and supermarkets in the U.S. These craft beer variants remain on an upward trajectory, brewed for resembling champagne. As bitterness of IPAs are kept in check through dry hopping for ensuring crisp, elegant, and well-attenuated beer, consumer demand for these craft beers continues to remain strong.

Apart from IPAs and barrel-aged craft beers, another variant that has emerged as an entirely new ball game is sour beers brewed by using vegetables. Prepared by using a perfect blend of vegetables and seasonings such as sea salt, oregano, fresh basil, roasted tomatoes, cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, and jalapeno peppers, to name a few, these vegetable sours are becoming a mass-industry trend.

Despite robust demand over the past decade, recent shift of consumer preference for wine and other alcoholic beverages, indicates at declining graph of craft beer consumption. However, independent breweries will continue to sustain the industry’s footprint.

The insights presented here are from a market study by Fact.MR. A sample is available upon request at@ 

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