Jobs, Stable Growth Headline 2018 Craft Beer Growth Report

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craft beer growth report 2018
Jobs and growth are two headlines from the 2018 craft beer growth report from the Brewers Association. (Brewers Association)

Job creation and stable growth are two big headlines from today’s annual craft beer growth report from the Brewers Association (BA), the not-for-profit trade group for U.S. craft brewers and publishers of

The BA’s annual growth report finds that small and independent craft brewers grew about 4 percent overall in 2018, increasing craft beer’s market share by volume to more than 13 percent of the U.S. beer market. The 50 fastest growing breweries, which the BA announced last week, made up 10 percent of that growth. Also, craft continued to grow last year, despite the overall U.S. beer market down 1 percent.

(VISIT: Find a U.S. Brewery)

Perhaps more interesting is the increase in jobs that craft brewers provide. In 2018, craft breweries accounted for more than 150,000 jobs in the U.S., an increase of 11 percent over 2017 according to the BA.

“Small and independent brewers continue to serve as job creators, strong economic contributors, and community beacons,” says BA Chief Economist Bart Watson.

If you love stats, here are more:

  • 2018 saw 7,346 operating U.S. craft breweries in 2018 — 4,521 microbreweries, 2,594 brewpubs, 231 regional breweries
  • Craft brewers produced 25.9 million barrels of beer
  • Retail dollar value for craft beer sold in 2018 was $27.6 billion
  • 1,049 new breweries opened, while 219 closed (a rate of 3 percent)

Watson says, “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.”

He’ll be diving deep into the growth numbers at next week’s annual Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo April 8-11 in Denver. You can get more details right now on

Jess Baker walked into a beer fest in 2010 and realized beer had come a long way from what her dad had been drinking since the 70s. She served as editor-in-chief of from spring 2016 to spring 2020, bringing you stories about the people who are the heartbeat behind U.S. craft brewing. She's a runner, a die-hard Springsteen fan, a mom who is always scouting family-friendly breweries, and always in search of a darn good porter. is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.