FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - FEBRUARY 27, 2009
DURANGO, Colo. – The Brewers Association, which tabulates industry growth data for U.S. breweries, has announced that small, independent craft brewers are gaining alcohol market share due to a shift toward full flavor beer and an increasing support for homegrown, “local” breweries.
Locally, this trend is reflected in the continued strength of Durango’s four breweries. Specifically at Steamworks Brewing Co., the award-winning craft brewer posted a 32 percent increase in sales in its wholesale beer business in 2008.“Steamworks is very pleased with the continued increased appreciation of craft beer,” said Kris Oyler, Steamworks CEO. “From the Brewers Association’s statistics, it appears beer from small, independent breweries is in demand and that is certainly positive for the beer industry in general. While Steamworks had a good year in 2008, we’re hoping for even greater growth in 2009.”
Steamworks has been distributing its award-winning beers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas for several years, adding the Minneapolis, Minnesota area in 2008. Recently, the brewery shipped beer to new markets in Wisconsin, Virginia and Pennsylvania, and negotiations are underway in additional states. Liquor laws require breweries to secure independent distributors within each state or territory they enter.
Overall in the industry, from 2007 to 2008 estimated sales by craft brewers were up 5.8 percent by volume and 10.5 percent in dollars. Craft brewers also captured 4 percent of production and 6.3 percent of retail sales within the industry category. More than 1 million new barrels of beer were sold in 2008, and close to half of those barrels were beer from craft brewers.
"2008 was a historic year for beer with the large brewers consolidating and imports losing share, while the top ten selling beer brands dropped in sales. At the same time, small independent craft brewers continued to gain share and attention," said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association.
With total U.S. beer being more than a $100 billion industry, the Brewers Association estimates the actual dollar sales from craft brewers in 2008 were $6.34 billion, up from $5.74 billion in 2007. Taxable barrels of the total beer category was 1,210,018 more in 2008 with craft brewers producing 473,364 of those barrels. Total craft brewer barrels for 2008 was 8,596,971, up from 8,123,607 barrels in 2007.
Beer's popularity as America's favorite fermented beverage continued in 2008 with Gallup stating "beer is back to a double-digit lead over wine." Taking into account the challenges in today's economy, BevincoNielsen released a survey showing beer was faring better than spirits, with wine lagging. The Brewers Association emphasized trading across from wine and spirits to beer continues, with some of today's wine drinkers discovering the affordable enjoyment and rewards of craft beer.
These increases in share and barrels for craft brewers come at a time when, according to the Brewers Association, the cost of operating a small brewery increased in excess of 39 percent in the period of November 2007 to November 2008. The Brewers Association states that today's craft brewers face many challenges including, access to ingredients and raw materials, increased pricing for materials and supplies and access to market (competition for shelf space at the retail level).
“Access to market is one of the issues the craft brewers in Colorado are currently facing with HB1192 making its way through the legislature,” said Oyler, referencing the bill that would allow grocery and convenience stores to carry full-strength beer. “Given how these larger stores are supplied, the bill’s passage will favor the large breweries and greatly limit the shelf-space available to craft beers.”
For exact statistics visit http://www.beertown.org/craftbrewing/statistics.html. A more extensive analysis will be released April 22 during the Craft Brewers Conference in Boston, Mass. The Association's full 2008 industry analysis, which shows regional trends and sales by individual brewery, will be published in the May/June issue of The New Brewer.
Steamworks Brewing Co. – Durango’s “2005 Business of the Year” – is located at 801 E. Second. Ave., Durango (970.259.9200), and 442 Wolverine Drive in Bayfield Center, Bayfield (970.884.7837). For further information, visit www.steamworksbrewing.com.
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The definition of craft beer as stated by the Brewers Association: An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Craft beer comes only from a craft brewer. Small = annual production of beer less than 2 million barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition. Independent = Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer. Traditional = A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.