The beer market has been pretty flat when you look at it from the perspective of major breweries. In fact, quite a few breweries have actually seen a decrease in profitability in recent years. The one spark of light in that dismal outlook is craft beer, which has seen significant growth year over year, even in the face of the lingering economic problems. In fact, it seems that craft beer may be poised to be not only one of the biggest growth areas in the industry, but one of the best options for potential investors as well.
Consider the recent growth percentages for the craft segment of the industry. 2010 marked an 11% jump in volume and a 12% jump in sales for craft brewers. However, the period of May 2010 through May 2011 shows 12.2% higher growth and almost 14% growth in terms of sales. A study of just April through May of 2011 shows 13.8% growth in volume and 15.3% in sales. Those are impressive figures by anyone’s standards and really highlights the overall trend in the craft segment – fast growth and good profitability.
The growth here has been great for consumers who are able to buy the products that they want from local companies. It’s also been good for the breweries themselves, of course. However, it’s also had a beneficial (to beer lovers) effect on laws throughout the nation. For instance, Tennessee recently enacted legislation that made it legal for high-alcohol beer to be brewed in the state. Utah is revising many of their beer-related laws, and Alabama and Mississippi are taking a second look at the laws on their books as well. North Carolina has changed their laws to accommodate small brewers also.
Why is that the case, though? What makes microbrews so very popular with both consumers and lawmakers? First, these are local companies. That makes them very good for the economy of a region. Most consumers are more willing to buy a product from a local company than from an international conglomerate and lawmakers are very pleased to help boost the economic success of their areas too. Second, microbreweries and nano breweries represent a “back to the basics” theme that can be glimpsed throughout the nation and has really been resonating with consumers for several years now.
In short, craft beer is growing and there seems to be no stopping it. This should be welcomed by beer lovers all over the country, as well as by investors and lawmakers.