Media Contact: Kathleen Joyce

kjoyce@nbwa.org; (800) 300-6417

Press Releases| Mar 28, 2017

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), which represents the interests of America’s more than 3,000 licensed, independent beer distributors, applauds America’s craft brewers for their continued growth and entrepreneurial spirit, which adds excitement to the American beer industry.

The Brewers Association (BA) released data today showing that craft brewers, as defined by the BA, continued steady growth last year as American craft beer production volume increased 6 percent on a comparable base – representing 12.3 percent market share by volume of the overall beer industry – and saw a 10 percent increase in retail dollar value, representing 21.9 percent market share. The data also indicate that craft brewers produced 24.6 million barrels of beer in 2016.

Additionally, the BA reported that in 2016 the number of operating breweries in the U.S. grew 16.6 percent, totaling 5,301 breweries, including: 3,132 microbreweries, 1,916 brewpubs, 186 regional craft breweries and 67 large or otherwise non-craft brewers. As defined by the BA, small and independent breweries account for 99 percent of the breweries in operation. Throughout the year, there were 826 new brewery openings and 97 closings.

Craft beer continues to provide a significant contribution to the American beer industry, and NBWA is proud of the role that America’s more than 3,000 independent beer distributors play to help the craft beer industry thrive,” said NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser. 

“The continued growth in craft beer sales underscores the effectiveness of the independent distribution system, which allows access to market for brewers of all sizes, and a state-based regulatory system that works to level the playing field between brewers, distributors and retailers,” Purser continued.

“Thanks to a network of independent distributors and retailers, brands that began as experiments in garages or family kitchens 20 years ago are today nationally recognized labels that can be enjoyed in all 50 states,” Purser said.

“Today’s marketplace offers an unparalleled number of styles, flavors and brands of beer – from domestics to imports,” Purser said. “According to the Nielsen Company, there are more choices of alcohol than any other consumer product in the United States.”

According to NBWA Chief Economist Lester Jones, brewery expansions continue to parallel the current business cycle that is entering its eighth year of expansion.

“Small independent brewers are helping lead the way for consumers interested in purchasing and supporting independent and locally owned goods and services,” Jones said.  

“Even with a slowdown in 2016 to a 6 percent growth rate, new breweries have continued to find opportunities in the beer market,” Jones said. “With continued declines in per capita consumption for malt beverages in 2016 on the books, this year’s beer market is gearing up for another highly competitive, innovative and dynamic battle for share of consumers’ attention, wallet and stomach. America’s 3,000 independent beer distributors are equipped and ready to deliver great beers to consumers around the country.”

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The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents the interests of America’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributor operations in every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Beer distributors are committed to ensuring alcohol is provided safely and responsibly to consumers of legal drinking age through the three-tier, state-based system of alcohol regulation and distribution. To learn more about America’s beer distributors, visit www.AmericasBeerDistributors.com. For additional updates from NBWA, follow @NBWABeer on Twitter, like NBWA on Facebook, follow NBWA on Instagram and subscribe to NBWA’s YouTube channel.