12 May 2023

Reaching maturity: US craft beer in 2022

USA | Craft beer production remained flat in 2022 in volume and market share, the Brewers Association (BA) reported in April. Small and independent brewers, which are represented by the BA, collectively produced 24.3 million barrels (28.5 million hl) beer, on par with 2021’s volume of 24.8 million barrels.

Craft beer’s overall market share by volume grew to 13.2 percent, up from 13.1 percent in the previous year.

Retail dollar value was estimated at USD 28.4 billion, representing a 24.6 percent market share and 6 percent growth over 2021. Sales growth was stronger than volume growth due to pricing, a share shift to smaller brewers, who are more likely to sell onsite and via distributed draught, as well as the continued channel shift back to the on-premise, which has a higher average retail value.

“2022 presented small brewers with a number of challenges, including rising operating and material costs and increasing competition, particularly in distribution,” said Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association. “In this maturing and competitive market, collective growth for the category is hard to come by.”

US brewery count reaches all-time high

The number of operating craft breweries continued to climb in 2022, reaching an all-time high of 9,552 breweries, of which 2,035 were microbreweries, 3,418 brewpubs, 3,838 taproom breweries, and 261 regional craft breweries.
The total US operating brewery count was 9,709, up from 9,384 in 2021.

More brewery openings than closings

Throughout 2022, there were 549 new brewery openings and 319 closings. Openings decreased for a second consecutive year, with the continued decline reflecting a more mature market. The closing rate increased in 2022 but continued to remain relatively low, at approximately 3 percent.

“The relatively low closure rate reflects both the solid demand for fuller flavoured local beer as well as the versatility and flexibility of small brewers,” Mr Watson added.

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