As Jay Z taught us, “Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t.” We all sensed that 2013 was another big year for craft beer, but the Brewers Association made it official this week when it released its report on craft-beer industry growth. Some pertinent data points:

  • Craft brewing now comprises 7.8% volume of the total U.S. beer market (up from 6.5% in 2012)
  • There are 2,822 operating breweries in the U.S., of which 2,768 are considered “craft” by the Association.
  • The craft sector has averaged 10.9% year-to-year growth over the past decade.
  • Small brewing companies employed more than 100,000 in 2013.

Still, the disparity between number of craft breweries and their fiscal clout tells an age-old story: Despite accounting for more than 98% of the brewing operations in the country, craft beer accounts for only 14.3% of dollar market share.

But while Big Brewing—Anheuser Busch, MillerCoors, etc.—has not released its vice grip, there are signs that the tides will continue to shift: The total U.S. beer market was down 1.9% in volume in 2013, but the craft sector grew 18%.

Our prediction: Small breweries will keep nipping at the heels of the giants in 2014, and consumers will continue to develop a more nuanced opinion of what craft really means. Is it about size and volume, or ingredients and technique?

Check out the infographic below for an overview of craft-beer industry growth in 2013.

growth infographic


[via Brewers Association]