In order to respond to this months Session, we can begin with some simple facts.
The sale of craft beer has remained strong for several years, averaging eight percent growth per year for the past five years; this despite overall beer sales dropping.
The number of breweries has also grown for the past few years, averaging a 7.5% growth yearly. Production, stated in terms of barrels per year has increased yearly, coinciding quite obviously with the increase in breweries, right around eight percent.
2008 – 1500 breweries – 8,501,713 barrels
2009 – 1639 breweries – 9,115,635 barrels
2010 – 1793 breweries – 10,133,571 barrels
2011 – 1938 breweries – 11,146,815 barrels
2012 – 2051 breweries – well, year’s not over yet
So, if we stick to an eight percent growth the year 2017 should see 3014 breweries producing 17,688,595 barrels of beer.
But, there may be a little more to the numbers game. And that piece is …
The figure gleaned from several internetual searches revealed that the US population is growing at about 1% per annum. That will put the population at approximately 330,017,155 by 2017.
Craft beer has 5.7% of the total beer market. If it follows the current trend of approximately .89 percent growth, this will be 5.9% by 2017. This puts per capita craft beer consumption at 1.77 gallons per year per person. Yes, this sounds low.
But, at that rate that means by 2017 there will need to be enough breweries to produce 18,842,915 barrels of great beer. That is still more than the seventeen million barrels noted above. in fact, it will require a fifteen percent growth in number of breweries and production, giving us about 3,209 breweries by 2017.
And Now The Conclusion
But, reality check for this amateur blogger guy. I face the solid fact that this brewing business is just a hobby for me. I made a feeble attempt to startup a brewery and was smacked down by local beaurocracy and stupidity. I’m not a member of any brewing association thingy, no professional, not a follower of business trends. Nope, just like beer, occasionally make my own and long for a real local brewery. I don’t even know if any of the numbers I spewed out above make good sense!
So for me this comes down to a guess, conjecture, speculation. I shall attempt to make it fun.
This year the neo-prohibitionists will succeed in getting a fundamentalist Christian agnostic elected. This person will have socialist leanings and will decide that while alcohol may not be sinful, it isn’t in the best interests of the people.
Beginninng in 2013, breweries will be combined with wineries and distilleries into single state operated entities, doling out a prescribed amount of beer, wine, and spirits once a week. Since fifty states comprise this union, there will be five of these alcohol production facilities (APF) in each state bringing the number of breweries to two thousand five hundred by 2017.
Then Yellowstone will explode and glaciers will melt and God will bring judgement on a stupid world that makes alcohol complicated and turns beer talk sessions into market trend analyses.
Then I shall begin brewing anew and all shall rejoice.
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