Admit it, pessimists: the craft beer movement has defied your gloomy predictions.
A year or two ago, even supporters of the dozens of neighborhood breweries that have popped up all over Southern California were predicting the movement had reached its apex. Surely we would see a die-off. There can’t be that many fans of double IPAs, Imperial stouts and sour beers.
But the growth continues. And many craft breweries that fail quickly re-open under new ownership and brew masters.
Nationally, the news is just as positive. A March, 2017 report from the Brewers Association estimates that craft beer now claims 12.3 percent of the overall market share by volume in the U.S. In 2016 there were more than 5,300 breweries in the country, and they produced 24.6 million barrels of brew, a 6 percent increase over 2015.
The revenue numbers look even rosier. In 2016, craft beer sales rose 10 percent to $23.5 billion, representing 21.9 percent market share.
According to Beverage Dynamics, a national magazine for beer retailers, consumers’ tastes and habits are evolving, and that helps keep the movement strong. Some recent trends: Beer fans crave new flavors and are increasingly willing to broaden their horizons; mega-brand loyalty is fading; bars and restaurants have greatly expanded their craft beer offerings; consumers are willing to pay more for beer, even if they’re consuming it at home; canned craft beer is becoming more popular.
A new normal is emerging in which every community has its own local brews — ironically, much like the beer industry was a century ago before Prohibition and repeal, consolidation, and…
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