The industry structure has changed significantly over the past 30 years. In 1983, there were 49 breweries. At the end of 2017 there were 5,648 reporting brewers, and by the end of CY 2017 the most recent data show there were 10,115 TTB permitted breweries in the United States – an all-time high. Note that not all permitted breweries are open and/or operational. The TTB issued 1,252 new permits in CY 2018 and some states now have more breweries than the enitire country had in 1990. The brewery expansions parallel the business cycle expansion from 2010 to 2018 and the industry stands out in an economy that has been sluggish and subpar relative to past business cycles. New breweries have continued to find growth opportunities in the beer market.
The share of market for the top five brewers and importers has changed significantly over the past ten years. Since 2017, more than 9 percent of the market volume has shifted from large brewers and importers to smaller brewers and importers. The continued growth in small, upstart breweries makes the U.S. beer market a dynamic and competitive industry.
|All Other Domestic and Imports||9.6%||20%|
Source: Beer Marketer’s Insights, 2019
Beer distribution has seen significant changes as well. Over the years, the number of traditional beer distributors has fallen from 4,595 in 1980 to around 3,000 in 2018. However, similar to brewing, the number of new entrants into the alcohol beverage wholesaling sector has increased significantly. According to data from the TTB, there are more than 20,000 licensed alcohol beverage wholesalers.More Details about the number of distributors can be found in the NBWA Membership Directory. Additional details on jobs, wages, taxes and the economic impacts of beer distributors can be found in the NBWA Distributor Economic Impact Report.
The number of retail outletts that sell alcohol has grown significantly since the end of the 2008-2009 recession. Total alcohol outletts have gone from 531,705 in 2008 to 643,268 in 2018.
Source: Nielsen, TDLinxtm 2019
A “stock keeping unit” (SKU) is the primary way retailers, distributors and brewers keep track of their inventory while it passes through the supply chain. Tremdous variety in packaging tracked by SKUs in the marketplace also has grown significantly over time. Across the economy, and over time, consumers have changed the when, where and how they shop. In response, new retail stores - from discounters, to big box, to category killers and convenience stores all demand more specialized and specific packaging to fit their customer needs. In 1996, the typical distributor managed 190 unique SKUs in their warehouses. As of 2016, the average statnds at 1,025 SKUs. More detials can be found in the The NBWA Distibutor Prodictivity Report:
Source: NBWA Distributor Productivity Report
According to the Gallup Poll, 36 percent of people do not consume alcohol. Although there have been articles about widespread shifts of legal drinkers from beer to spirits or wine, the annual Gallup survey has shown remarkable stability in consumer preferences over the past decade.
Source: Gallup Poll, 2018