A short article in the Daily Camera caught my eye this week. It seems that, despite the sluggishness of the overall economy, the craft brewing industry continues to grow.
Based on a report from the Brewers Association, the article describes an uptick last year in not only craft beer sales, but growth in market share and number of craft breweries. In 2009, craft breweries reported an overall increase in sales by dollar (10.3%) and by volume (7.2%). Market share increased to 6.9% by dollar amount of the whole beer industry.
(Oskar Blues, who opened this new facility in Longmont, reported a sales increase of 145% last year)
This is welcome news. That craft brewing, which can be considered a premium product, can expand its economic heft during a time of wallet tightening is impressive. Besides the raw numeric growth, 49 extra breweries jumped into the market over the past year. This shows that investors and entrepreneurs see continued potential in the craft brewing market, and are willing, despite the economic downturn, to jump in feet first.
Going further, specialty brews, like seasonals, grew 25% last year. People want interesting new, and sometimes challenging, options. Craft brewing is providing those options. We haven't hit any sort of market saturation point yet. There are still opportunities out there for new brewers with new ideas.
(Update: You can find a further writeup of the uptick in craft brewing at the Denver Craft Beer Examiner Blog)
Have a Happy Friday!