Craft Beer Grows Up

January 18, 2016

Craft Beer Grows Up

2015 was a momentous year for craft beer. What was once just a plucky upstart in the beer industry has become a mature player. Craft beer won't be ignored, and major retailers and established players in the industry are beginning to pay attention to it for the first time.

Craft beer is expanding—and it is doing so at a rapid rate. There are now more than 4,100 craft breweries in operation in the United States, the first time the number of craft breweries has surpassed the historic high set in 1873. The craft beer market will continue to thrive well into the foreseeable future. But the best way to measure the expansion of the craft beer category is to examine the state of U.S. hop production. The surging demand for hops from craft breweries led to an astounding 11 percent increase in U.S. hop production in 2015.

Craft beer is truly shaking up the staid beer market, and it's got the established beer conglomerates running scared.

When writers, critics, and craft beer aficionados look back on 2015, the most salient trend they'll notice will be that the category's rapid expansion was accompanied by a corresponding consolidation. For the beer industry, the biggest story of 2015 was the surge of craft brewery acquisitions by giant global brewers.

While it's true that scores of new breweries opened around the country, many established brewery owners found ways to transition their companies out of the increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace.

You could react to this development in two ways. You could bemoan the fact that mega-breweries are now moving into the craft beer sector, gobbling up smaller independent breweries instead of trying to compete with them. Or you could see it as the first signs of a consolidating, maturing industry.

We prefer to take the optimistic view.

Craft beer, once ignored by the major brewers, has gained their respect—and it's upending their old-fashioned, conservative business models. Without a doubt, the mega-breweries are going to continue focusing on their craft segments in the coming years, probably by throwing billion-dollar checks at their smaller independent competitors.

That doesn't mean that the big brewers can beat craft breweries by eliminating the whole pesky craft category. Craft breweries are responding to consumer desires, and the major brewers need to address those if they are going to rescue their flat-lining businesses.

Craft beer has unleashed a consumer revolution that will transform the beer industry. Its rapid expansion, which saw it double its share of sales in the past five years, will continue into the future, even as it consolidates its gains.

We're looking forward to seeing how craft beer matures in 2016. It's sure to be another eventful year.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in News


October 06, 2015

View full article →

Union Growler Spring Event Guide

April 09, 2015

Spring is here and the weather in Texas is perfect for events, but for beer lovers, we know that spring is a great time for beer-related events. Whether it’s a tasting or a big celebration, springtime means that beer events are in season for Dallas. We’ve assembled some of our favorite events coming up, so be sure to add these beer events in North Texas to your calendar and come out for a great time!

View full article →

Dallas Charities: How to Find the Right One

March 25, 2015

Union Growler Company is all about giving. We donate all of our proceeds to charities in Dallas because we want to make a different in the world. Beyond donating to charities, we’ve also gotten involved in charities and donated our time. We know that many people would like to do the same, but sometimes it feels overwhelming to find the right charity for you. Read our guide on how to find the right charity to get involved with! 

View full article →

new subscriber offer

Sign up for our newsletter for 20% off your next order!

Plus, be the first to hear about new products, sales, and more!