April 7 is National Beer Day and to celebrate, we looked nationwide to gain insights into the state of craft and microbreweries.
The consensus? For on- and off-premise craft breweries and brewpubs, pandemic woes are fading and their rebound is imminent.
In a recent study, the global demand for craft beer is forecast to reach $89B this year—up from $76.3B in 2020 and $81.64B in 2021—and is expected to increase 2X over the next decade with the United States set to be the largest contributor to this growth, thanks to entrenched craft brewery scene and highly supportive consumer base.
Grace Wood, an industry analyst for Los Angeles-based IBISWorld told Beverage Industry in its 2022 Beer Report, that “although demand for craft beer has slowed after a period of explosive growth, growth in this segment remains stronger than any other product segment in the beer market.” As with anything industry, change is inevitable. While craft beer’s market share continues to develop in a diversifying field, Wood adds that “demand for craft beer is being stimulated by a shift in consumer preferences toward variety, novelty, and higher-end brands.”
As a result of this shift in consumer preference, the popularity of styles such as American IPA, Hazy IPA, and New England IPA is beginning to wane, says Nathan Green, Consultant for Beverage Marketing Corporation, and that “other styles on the rise have begun to change and diversify through 2021 and 2022.” For example, Hop Culture reported a shift in the IPA category as breweries focus more on sub-lines such as Hazy IPA and less on dominant lines such as American IPA. This correlates with Wood and Green’s notion that variety is driving this shift.
While the future looks bright for craft beer, it’s important to take a look at where the industry currently stands, both nationwide and regionally. We dove deep into industry stats and Q1 Provi marketplace data to find interesting insights and trends that tell us where the industry is at the moment.
Craft Beer Nationwide: No. of Breweries, Output by State, and Top Craft Brewery by Impressions
Map showcasing the number of craft breweries by state, the state’s output in barrels, and its top craft brewery
Like restaurants, craft and microbreweries are pillars in the community and greatly contribute to its culture and economy. Therefore, it’s no wonder that craft beer is thriving throughout the United States, with more than 8,000 craft or microbreweries in operation nationwide.
The interactive map above shows the number of licensed craft breweries by state, each state's annual output in barrels, and its top craft brewery which was found by House Method using multiple factors driven by social media insights. According to the data, of the 50 states, California boasts the most craft breweries with 958 while Mississippi has the fewest craft breweries in operation: 12.
Percentage of Craft Breweries by Region
The percentage of craft breweries divided into the nation’s four regions
When divided into regions, the West has the highest percentage of breweries at 31%, while the Midwest and South trail close behind with each sharing 24% of operational breweries. Despite being home to many of America’s largest metropolitan areas, the Northeast clocks in with the lowest concentration of breweries in operation: 21%.
Fastest Growing Craft Beer Styles Nationwide
A chart highlighting the fastest-growing craft beer styles nationwide
To find out the fastest-growing craft beer style across the country we analyzed Provi marketplace data over the course of Q1 of 2022. Interestingly, Golden Ale/Blonde Ale craft beer styles greatly outpaced Scottish Ales, Hazy IPAs, Kolsch, and Light Lagers, respectively. This suggests that seasonality and consumer behavior are already at play, as consumers shift from darker beer styles such as Porters and Stouts to lighter, more seasonally-relevant beer styles.
Top 3 Craft Beer Brands By Region in Market Share
The top 3 craft beer brands by region
Using the same marketplace data, we found interesting developments in the most in-demand craft brands regionally. Across the nation, no matter the climate, Blue Moon Belgian White is a crowd favorite with retailers as it tops three of the four regions, coming in a close second in the South. Other favorites include Revolution Anti-Hero IPA, Brooklyn Brewery Lager, Creature Comforts Tropicalia IPA, and Avery White Rascal, all of which can be traced back locally to each region.
While this data represents the craft beer that retailers are stocking up on most, it’s indicative of growing consumer demand, shifting seasons, and a move to capture new beer drinkers entering the market as the data below suggests.
Top Craft Beer Styles By Percent of Market Share
A pie chart showing the percentage of craft beer style market share
Lastly, Provi marketplace data allowed us to dissect the top craft beer styles by percent of market share. Witbier and IPA compete for the top percentage share within the industry. This correlates with how IPA has grown into its own subset on the shelf and an increase in IPA sub-lines that meet a broader set of beer lovers’ needs.
Additionally, the data correlates with Wood’s 2022 Beer Report assessment that styles like Witbier—commonly referred to as Belgian White—are exploding, as brewers focus on lighter styles to appease consumer needs as well as entice new consumers entering the craft beer market, adding “This lighter variety of beer is more popular during the summer season, and is favored among new beer drinkers due to its light and subtle flavor.”
As the season continues to shift and breweries emerge from stagnant pandemic conditions, the state of craft beer is only set to improve. Through shifting consumer demand, a diversifying market, and an ever-growing competitive landscape, craft breweries must cater to consumer behavior to reap the rewards of a growing industry in 2022.