Less than two weeks after releasing its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S. for last year, the Brewers Association (BA) has announced its analysis of the craft beer industry for 2017.

According to the trade group, despite the fact that the overall beer volume dropped by 1 percent last year, the craft beer industry’s growth is continuing on an upward trajectory.

The industry now includes more than 6,300 small and independent breweries that represent 12.7 percent of the overall beer industry by market share volume, up .6 percent from last year. Those breweries produced a bit less than 25.4 million barrels of beer, an increase of 5 percent in volume and an 8 percent increase in retail dollar value compared to 2016.

In addition, the retail value of the beer produced by craft breweries was pegged at $26 billion, which represents a 23.4 percent market share. Including already existing businesses, craft brewers provided more than 135,000 jobs, which was an increase of more than 6,000 jobs compared to 2016.

“Growth for the craft brewing industry is adapting to the new realities of a mature market landscape,” said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, in a press release. “Beer lovers are trending toward supporting their local small and independent community craft breweries. At the same time, as distribution channels experience increased competition and challenges, craft brewer performance was more mixed than in recent years, with those relying on the broadest distribution facing the most pressure.”

Small and independent breweries accounted for 98 percent of the total breweries in operation and there were a total of 997 new breweries that opened in 2017 as well as 165 closings, a closing rate of 2.6 percent. In addition, the number of craft breweries operating in the U.S. last year grew to 6,266, an increase of 16 percent over 2016:

  • 3,812 microbreweries
  • 2,252 brewpubs
  • 202 regional craft breweries
  • 106 large or otherwise non-craft brewers
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