Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).
Last week about 6,400 beer professionals converged in Washington for the 2013 Craft Brewers Conference. The CBC is a yearly event organized by the Brewers Association, the trade association that represents the interest of craft breweries in America. The CBC is usually held in San Diego but with BA’s other signature event SAVOR being held in New York instead of D.C. this year, we got to host the Conference instead. The whole week featured speeches, lectures, exhibitions, and some awfully cool events at local bars, breweries, and restaurants…and I missed them all. That’s life in retail for you.
The news coming out of CBC, however, was encouraging for all of us in the industry. The BA released some figures from its upcoming full analysis of 2012, and the numbers show a continued trend of growth for craft beer: there are now 2,403 total breweries in the U.S., an 18% increase over 2011. The volume share of craft beer went from 5.7% to 6.5% and the dollar share of sales went up 17%, compared to the 1% growth of the overall U.S. beer market. Over 108,000 Americans work in the craft beer industry, representing a gain of nearly 5,000 jobs in 2012.
Delivering the CBC keynote address, New Belgium Brewery President Kim Jordan discussed the realities of the growing craft beer world; among those being the importance of keeping quality standards as breweries grow larger, and the inevitable toll that growth along with the ever-rising number of craft breweries will take on resources as varied as hops, malts, staff, and shelf space. “Our influence is outsized for our growth rate” Jordan said; a statement equal parts state-of-the-industry and warning.
For now though, craft beer is on the rise and from my own modest corner of the business I just wanted to say thanks to all of you out there for the amazing growth we’ve seen in Arrowine’s beer department. With more local breweries coming online over the next couple years and the continued growth of already-established ones, I’m excited to see what the next few years bring.
Anyone get out to CBC or any of the beer dinners/tap takeovers/special events last week? Let’s hear about them in the comments; also if anyone has any general beer questions leave them here and I’ll do my best to answer. Until next time.
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