Monday, March 18, 2013

Craft beer posts more gains, BA says

Flying Fish's automated kegger
The trade group that represents the US craft brewing industry has released statistics for 2012 that show continued double-digit growth in beer volume, the number of breweries and retail sales.

Honestly, such numbers make you ask where the leveling off point may be and how close to the peak it will land.

Nonetheless, ahead of next week's Craft Brewers Conference, the Brewers Association says in a statement put out Monday that production volume (13,235,917 barrels) for US craft brewers jumped 15% last year to claim 6.5% of the total US beer market volume (craft brewing was 5.7% of the market in 2011).

That took place, the BA says, while the overall US beer market grew by just 1%.

Craft beer's dollar share of the overall $99 billion US beer market edged past 10% percent last year on retail sales of an estimated $10.2 billion, a jump from $8.7 billion in 2011.

Brewhouse display at Flying Fish
The number of US craft breweries – 2,347 – closed in on a 20% increase from 2011 to 2012. That's translates to 409 brewery openings, with 43 closings.

(Breakdown: 1,132 brewpubs and 1,118 production breweries.)

On the jobs front, craft breweries generated 4,857 more jobs, according to BA estimates.

(Stats: 108,440 craft brewery workers in 2012 versus 103,583 in 2011.)

“On average, we are seeing slightly more than one craft brewery per day opening somewhere in the US," says BA director Paul Gatza, "and we anticipate even more in the coming year. These small breweries are doing great things for their local communities, the greater community of craft brewers, our food arts culture and the overall economy."

Carton sixtel stack
Garden State outlook
Creating industry growth and generating jobs were among the points the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild cited when it successfully urged lawmakers and the governor last year to update the regulations under which the state's craft brewing industry had been operating since 1995.

Growth is indeed playing out across the state, last year as a continued reflection of national interest in craft beer, both from a business standpoint and from the consumer point of view.

Changes to the state regulations are bolstering growth this year and giving brewers already in the market a reason to be optimistic.

Year-to-year snapshot in New Jersey
Two craft brewers were licensed in New Jersey last year – Turtle Stone in Vineland and Flounder Brewing in Hillsborough. (Flounder would continue with a buildout and begin actual brewing a year later.)

Kegs and cases for Bolero Snort
Only Great Blue, a 2-barrel brewery in Franklin Township in Somerset County, decided to let its license lapse following a year that essentially saw only a single batch of beer made.

Great Blue was among the five new breweries that launched in 2011 (rounding out the list: Cape May, Kane, Carton and Tuckahoe).

It's also worth noting that capacity increases were a big factor in 2012.

Flying Fish went about the business of tripling in size with move from its founding location of Cherry Hill to Somerdale. Cape May, Carton and Cricket Hill also added brewing capacity to keep up with demand. (Cape May went through another capacity boost by adding a 15-barrel brewhouse last month.)

Measuring for new tank placement at Carton
This year, Iron Hill brewpub will double its footprint in New Jersey. A location forecast to open this July in Voorhees will be the 10th for the chain that's spread among Delaware, Pennsylvania and the Garden State. (Iron Hill's first New Jersey restaurant-brewery opened in Maple Shade over the summer of 2009 and quickly became the company's busiest.)

On top of that, there are at least four license applications pending with the state, with existing bars looking to convert into brewpubs making up the bulk of those. (One of the applications is for a planned project in Burlington County that was filed nearly a year ago.) 

Brewing at Tuckahoe
However, that's really only part of the growth picture.

River Horse is leaving his founding location of Lambertville for nearby Ewing, a shift that will enable the 17-year-old brewery to bring its lager back into production and boost production by about 40 percent over time. Tuckahoe Brewing is also looking for a larger site.

Blackthorn Brewing has a buildout under way in Toms River, while East Coast Beer Company in Point Pleasant Beach, which has its Beach Haus beers contracted-brewed in upstate New York, is scouting sites to open a brewery in New Jersey.

Pinelands Brewing settled on a location in Little Egg Harbor (Ocean County) for a 1-barrel brewery.

Meanwhile, Bolero Snort entered the market with a brace of lagers contract-brewed at High Point in Butler, a move aimed it getting the Bergen County company rolling while it sites a location for its own brewery.

And that, of course, doesn't include projects quietly in development.

For the full BA release, go here.

No comments: