Is the Craft Beer Boom Over?

Last year, volume was up 5 percent, but the pace of growth is slowing.

craft beer
(John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LightRocket via Getty Images

The craft beer buzz is wearing off. More craft breweries closed in 2017 than any other time in the last decade. The Washington Post reports that though craft beer makers saw more growth in production than the overall market last year, the pace is still slowing.

The Brewers Association — a trade group representing small and independent American craft brewers — put together a report that showed that craft brewers saw a 5 percent rise in production volume last year, but that growth was coupled with an increasingly crowded playing field. This meant more small craft breweries closed. In 2017, there were nearly 1,000 new brewery openings nationwide but also 165 closures — that’s a closing rate of 2.6 percent.

Small craft breweries compete against each other for taps at restaurants and shelf space at retailers, but they are also up against massive industrial brewers, who have more influence over the national distribution of beer, and more resources. The big brewers often buy up small companies.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.