In Case You Haven’t Seen the Craft Beer Sales Numbers Yet … Here’s the Press Release


Brewers Association: Craft Brewing Volume Hops 13 Percent

Total U.S. brewery count tops 2,000

Boulder, CO • March 26, 2012 —TheBrewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent brewers, today released 2011 data on U.S. craft brewing1. Craft brewers saw volume2 rise 13 percent, with a 15 percent increase in retail sales from 2010 to 2011, representing a total barrel increase of 1.3 million.

In 2011, craft brewers represented 5.68 percent of volume of the U.S. beer market, up from 4.97 in 2010, with production reaching 11,468,152 barrels. Additionally, the BA estimates the actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2011 was $8.7 billion, up from $7.6 billion in 2010. Increased retails sales represented 9.1 percent of the $95.5 billion dollar U.S. beer market3.

“While the overall beer market experienced a 1.32 percent volume decrease in 2011, craft brewing saw significant growth, surpassing five percent total market volume share for the first time,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the variety of styles and flavors to choose from, Americans are developing a strong taste for high-quality, small-batch beer from independent brewers.”


Growth Infographic 2011

Growth Infographic 2011

Download High Resolution Graphic View Expanded Infographic


With 250 brewery openings and only 37 closings, the BA also reported that 1,989 breweries were operating in the U.S. in 2011—an 11 percent increase from the previous year. Small brewers employed approximately 103,585 workers in the U.S in 2011.

“We saw rapid growth in brewery openings last year, particularly with microbrewery start-ups, and these numbers are poised to rise even more in 2012,” added Gatza. “In February 2012, we already topped 2,000 operating breweries—a truly remarkable milestone. We look forward to even more success and the continued expansion of the craft beer market.”

Note: Numbers are preliminary. The Association will publish its full 2011 industry analysis in the May/June 2012 issue of The New Brewer, highlighting regional trends and sales by individual breweries. Additionally, a more extensive analysis will be released during the Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego, Calif., from May 2-5.


1 The definition of a craft brewer as stated by the Brewers Association: An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Small: Annual production of beer less than 6 million barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50 percent of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.
2 Volume by craft brewers represent total taxable production.
3The Brewers Association does not include flavored malt beverages in its beer data set.

Gary Cooks for Sex on the Radio with Rocky Fino and Chef Geoff

Gary spoke about pairing beers with Irish food on Stripped Down Kitchen, hosted by Rocky Fino, author of the Will Cook for Sex series, and Chef Geoff of Cape May. Recipes included.  G’s so good on the radio, even when he’s exhausted. Click here to listen

South Jersey’s Cork Becomes Keg & Kitchen

My favorite New Jersey restaurant couple, Janet and Kevin Meeker, have totally overhauled Westmont’s Cork. It’s now South Jersey’s first barnyard dining room, called Keg & Kitchen. Read my post in Foobooz

Legislation Brewing to Help State’s Small Brewers New law would expand production, remake sales structure for NJ’s microbreweries

NJ Senate committee votes on brewery regulation overhaul today. Details in my story here that ran on, and hence appeared on

Local Wine Nerds Rejoice: Barrels On The Brandywine

Local Wine Nerds Rejoice: Barrels On The Brandywine

My latest post: Say what you will about the quality of PA wine (we certainly do), but you can’t argue that the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail doesn’t know how to throw a good party for those of an oenophilic bent. Especially those of you hardcore grape geeks who thrill to things like cellar tours and tasting new local wines.

Every weekend in March, the seven wineries of the trail open their cellars (and tasting rooms) for the public to sip the latest vintage straight from the barrels, buckets and bottles. $30 buys you a passport to visit (and drink at) each of the wineries once between March 3 and April 1.

A few wineries do something a little special. Twin Brook Winery, for example, is serving its famous gumbo. And Paradocx is pouring wine from cans–because that’s just classy.

The Pairings were Magnifique — Iron Hill Dinner to Celebrate First Unibroue Collab

On Tuesday, Unibroue regional rep extraordinaire invited Gary and me to be his guests at a five-course dinner to celebrate the release of Unibroue’s first collaboration. A few months ago, Master Brewer Jerry Vietz came to Jersey to brew Jerry Chris Mas (sounds like a Dead reference, doesn’t it?) with Iron Hill Maple Shade Head Brewer Chris LaPierre, who returned from Belgium like five minutes before the dinner started. It was sort of an unofficial collab, as Unibroue won’t be selling it but if you’re close enough to Maple Shade, you sure as shit want to get some at Iron Hill while you can. Also, they’re aging some in bourbon and wine barrels so expect more goodness throughout the year. Some noted personages in attendance were Mark Haynie, Andy Calimano and Tom Peters, and Jeff Linkous stopped by to take pictures. Gary took some amazing pics, and I’ve included the menu as one of the shots.

Kudos to Chris and the chef, the pairings were some of the best I’ve experienced, especially the Blonde de Chambly with the seared monk fish and micro greens with ginger vinaigrette, and the Jerry Chris Mas with the roasted elk loin. The only bad thing I have to say is that the dessert — brown sugar pie — was so unimaginably good that pairing it with La Terrible, another one of my favorites, was an overkill of goodness. Each one stands on its own so much that neither could possibly enhance the other. I think the only thing you could have paired with that brown sugar pie was more brown sugar pie.

On another note Jerry has extended his stay to attend the Starfish Junction beer fest at the Navy Yard on Saturday so look for him if you’re there.