By Craig Purser, President and CEO of the National Beer Wholesalers Association
In the midst of political deadlocks and partisan debates, there is still plenty to cheer about in the nation’s capital these days. This week, as communities across the country are celebrating American Craft Beer Week, we can all reach across the aisle to toast the good news of America’s booming craft beer scene.
According to recent data from the Brewers Association, craft brewers experienced an 18 percent rise in volume in 2013 and now represent 7.8 percent of the U.S. beer market volume, which is up from 6.5 percent just a year earlier. Small and independent American brewers sold approximately 15.6 million barrels of beer in 2013, and craft beer has averaged nearly 11 percent growth each year over the past decade. The association also reported that there were 2,822 breweries operating in the U.S. in 2013, with 98 percent (2,768) being craft breweries. That number includes the more than 400 new breweries that opened for business in 2013.
The tremendous growth in craft beer sales underscores the excitement of independent beer distributors in partnering with America’s craft brewers to help them reach a wide network of retailers and increase their value. As consumers demand more choice and variety for what has been described as an affordable luxury, the tremendous growth in craft beer sales is due in large part to an independent distribution system that allows brewers and importers of all shapes and sizes the economic scale to get to market with great efficiency. An effective state-based alcohol regulatory system also works to level the playing field between large and small brewers while working to protect consumers and the public. Innovative brewers make great beer and independent distributors help get their products on store shelves, bar taps and restaurant menus so that consumers can enjoy beers from all over the country and around the world.
Because an independent, three-tier system of beer distribution helps provide access to market for brewers of all sizes, today’s marketplace offers an unparalleled number of styles and flavors of beer for diverse occasions – more than 13,000 different labels – and American consumers are demonstrating that they enjoy this vast choice and variety. From porters to pilsners and lagers to lambics – noother consumer product can boast so much selection and diversity. America’s independent beer distributors take special pride in delivering the widest choice and variety of local, regional, national and international beers to Main Street.
As more and more craft brewers demonstrate their growth and success, we see the impact on local economies across the country. According to the Beer Serves America study, the beer industry as a whole directly and indirectly contributes $246.6 billion to the American economy each year and generates jobs for 1.8 million hardworking Americans. More than 3,300 beer distribution facilities alone directly contribute more than $10 billion in state, local and federal taxes and indirectly contribute nearly $11 billion in excise and consumption taxes. America’s independent beer distributors fuel jobs, generate economic growth and deliver value to local communities by directly employing more than 130,000 people and add $54 billion to the economic output of the U.S. In our current fiscal climate, this economic success is something we can all raise a glass to celebrate.
This is sponsored content written by the National Beer Wholesalers Association. It does not reflect Roll Call's editorial view.