Tap Into the Business of Craft Beer



The Business of Craft Beer

There is no denying that the US craft beer industry has been experiencing some phenomenal growth in recent years, and the signs of the expansion are becoming harder and harder to ignore.

Micro-brewery establishments continue to open up across the country, while craft beers seem to be finding their way onto the beverage shelves of large retailers, local bars, grocery stores, and gas stations everywhere.

How big is the growth? In the span of five years, from 2007 to 2012, the total sales of craft beer jumped up by 6.3 billion, from 5.7 billion to around 12 billion. Factor in 2013’s retail sales of craft beer that were recently estimated at 14.3 billion and it becomes clear to see that the industry’s trend of increasing sales and production each year is continuing strongly, promising a bright future for craft beer enthusiasts, whether they brew or buy craft products.

Craft Beer Continues Moving Up

Around 36% of US consumers say that they currently prefer to drink craft beer over other types of beer products, and this suggests that if the market’s growth continues to trend in the way it has in past years, the products of craft breweries could very well take on a new prominence in the US beer industry, maybe even challenging the “Big Breweries.”

Another interesting stat is the 45% of people who haven’t tried craft beer products would do so if they knew more about them, revealing that many Americans are sitting on the proverbial beer fence, just waiting to be tipped to the craft beer side. And as it becomes more available throughout the US, more people will have a chance to try craft beer and choose it over other products.

Craft beer is by no means a recent innovation, but the once fledgling industry has come far since the end of the 19th century. According to data gathered by the American Brewer’s Association, the total number of breweries in December 2013 was 2,722—the highest that it has been in the US since the year 1870. And large brewing companies make up only 2% of 2013’s count, vastly outnumbered by smaller, independent brewing establishments.

Remember that 6.3 billion jump in sales in five years? By 2017, that number is projected to triple, meaning that the demand for employees equipped to be successful in the craft beer industry will increase right along with demand. Luckily, there are many colleges across the nation that are rising to the challenge presented by craft beer’s unchecked growth.

Infographic Courtesy of Kendall College

Thank you to Kendall College and School of Hospitality Management Assistant Professors Phill Mott and John who created the infographic above. This infographic called “Tap into the Business of Craft Beer” features revealing craft beer statistics, a diagram of great craft beer/food pairings, and insight on craft beer presentation from Kendall Alumnus Drew Larson, Beverage Director at Hopleaf and owner of Leader’s Beverage Consulting.

Several schools, like Kendall College in Chicago and San Diego State University, are developing new curricula designed to prepare students for careers in the business of craft beer. As the industry continues its upward trend and schools expand their ability to match the growing demand for craft beer products, the future of craft beers and all who enjoy them is brighter with every day – and every pint.


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