U.S. Beer and Wine-Making Growth Spikes
Americans have long enjoyed reaching for a cold one, and a growing number want to first make it themselves.
The Brewers Association reported this week that the number of breweries in the U.S. is at a 125-year high. There are now 2,126 breweries in the U.S., the most since 1887.
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“There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year,” says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, a rate of growth that he says is faster than at any time since the end of Prohibition.
Along with making more beer, Americans have spent more on craft beers this year. Dollar sales at craft breweries were up 14 percent in the first half of 2012, and the volume of craft beer sold was up 12 percent. The breweries included in that tally don’t include behemoths like Miller or Budweiser; it includes only breweries that are small, independent, and use “traditional” brewing methods—that is, that meet certain ingredient standards. However, “small” is a relative term: It includes breweries that make up to 6 million barrels, or 186 million gallons, per year. Thus, that includes tiny microbrewers but also well-known companies like Sierra Nevada and Samuel Adams. Altogether, craft breweries make up 97 percent of all U.S. breweries.
The growth trend extends to wine as well. As of 2010, there were 6,672 wineries in the U.S., up by nearly 2,000 from 2007 and way up from 579 in 1975, according to figures compiled by WineAmerica, a national winery association based in Washington, D.C. That’s the most wineries ever in the U.S., according to Cary Greene, chief operating officer of WineAmerica