Small and independent craft brewers now account for 12.7 percent of the U.S. beer market by volume.
Craft beers are generally premium-priced beers and, as a result, they also represent 23.4 percent of the beer industry’s retail dollar value, according to the Brewers Association.
In its annual report, the Boulder, Colorado-based association said craft brewers produced 25.4 million barrels in 2017, a 5 percent rise in volume on a comparable basis.
The number of operating brewers in the U.S. grew by 16 percent in 2017, including both independent and major breweries, the grand total reached 6,372 breweries.
Throughout the year, there were 997 new brewery openings, and 165 closings.
The Brewers Association also said craft brewers supported more than 135,000 jobs last year, an increase of more than 6,000.
“Beer lovers want to support businesses that align with their values and are having a positive impact on other local communities and our larger society,” said Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association.
“That’s what small and independent craft brewers are all about,” Watson said. “The ability to seek beers from small and independent producers matters.”