Craft beer has a growth problem. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s practically a microbrewery on every street corner these days. While that seems like paradise, it actually might not be.
According to a recent report, “the current craft-beer boom, however, increased the number of breweries in the US from 1,447 in 2005 to 5,005 at the end of 2016. That’s a 346-percent increase that still lags the 550-percent jump from 1990 to 1999 but is finally showing signs of slowing.”
And it is slowing in noticeable chunks. According to IRI Worldwide, the industry growth slowed by four percent in 2016.
Further, “as it stands, craft beer’s huge growth has balanced out some growing losses. Before 2013 and 2014, when there were 1,275 US (or roughly a quarter of the breweries that exist today), it was rare for the US to lose more than 20, production breweries in a year. In 2013 and 2014, the US lost 79. If you throw brewpubs into that mix, the US lost 126 breweries in those two years alone. In 2015, the last year for which data was available, 67 breweries went out of business.”
In fact, in a report, Anheuser-Busch admitted the craft industry is in serious trouble. According to that story, one analyst said, “Consumers are overwhelmed by too much choice; the industry has been swamped. There’s too many brands, too many styles, not enough quality.”
“Quality” seems to be the key to all this. Here’s what Quality Craft Solutions Founder Neil Witte had to say:
“In a land of 5,000 breweries, if you’re not making amazing beer, you’re probably not going to stay in business…
If you want to stay in business for more than a couple of years, you’d better be making some really, great beer. It’s only getting more competitive out there. Quality isn’t like adding a piece of equipment, where you can calculate a hard-and-fast return on investment. Investing in a quality program is understanding that you’re investing in the sustainability of your business.”