Craft beer sales continue to rise even as the beer industry feels the pinch from frugal consumer spending and higher costs. Today there are more than 30 craft breweries and brewpubs in Massachusetts, from industry heavyweights such as Boston Beer Company, the brewer of Samuel Adams beers, to small start-ups whose owners deliver their own kegs to local pubs.
“In the mid-’90s, people still didn’t know whether this was a fad or not,” said Dan Kenary, president of South Boston-based Harpoon Brewing Co. “There were a lot of people flocking in, trying to make a quick buck. Now there are people who have grown up with this industry their whole life.”
The Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association defines craft brewers as those with annual production of less than two million barrels, that have less than 25 percent ownership by a non-craft alcohol beverage company, and that avoid the use of adjunct ingredients to lighten flavor.
The industry has enjoyed steady growth over the last five years, as craft beer’s share of the $100 billion U.S. beer market rose from 2.7 percent in 2003 to 4 percent in 2008. The Brewers Association estimated craft beer sales last year at $6.3 billion in 2008, up from $5.7 billion the previous year.
Over all beer sales are down. If you make a great product, people will buy it.