The craft beer industry continues to grow slowly and steadily even as the overall beer market continues to shrink.

2018 sales data released on April 2 by the Brewers Association in their annual growth report showed the craft beer segment growing by four percent and increasing craft’s overall beer market share by volume to 13.2 percent last year.

Retail dollar value, they reported, was estimated at $27.6 billion, representing 24.1 percent market share and seven percent growth over 2017.

The overall beer market dropped one percent by volume in 2018. While the data for craft beer doesn’t point toward the “20 percent by 2020″ — that’s 20 percent market share — that BA initially aspired to, the growth of craft beer does run counter to the down beer market overall.

Bart Watson, Chief Economist for the Brewers Association, said the 2018 growth rate was stable and noted that independent breweries continue to create jobs and contribute to the economy despite competition and the evolving landscape of beer.

“The beer landscape is facing new realities with category competition, societal shifts, and other variables in play,” Watson said in a news release. “There are still pockets of opportunity both in terms of geography and business model, but brewers need to be vigilant about quality, differentiation, and customer service.”

The 50 fastest growing breweries, including Lewes, DE’s Big Oyster Brewery, delivered 10 percent of craft brewer growth. Craft brewers provided more than 150,000 jobs, an increase of 11 percent over 2017.

There were 7,346 craft breweries operating in 2018, including 4,521 microbreweries, 2,594 brewpubs, and 231 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 1,049 new brewery openings and 219 closings, a closing rate of three percent.

The Brewers Association has not yet released its state-by-state figures for 2018, but in 2017, Maryland ranked 20th in barrels of craft beer produced, Delaware 21st and Virginia 18th.

Click to view the full infographic on 2018 craft beer growth.

Kristin Helf
Author: Kristin Helf

Kristin is a writer and picture-taker in Ocean City, Maryland. She likes puppies, pumpkin ales and watching movies for the Ocean City Film Festival in her spare time.

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