For many, craft beer is just a weird “hipster” thing, where you drink really crappy tasting beer and act like it was good. For many others, however, there is a real art to drinking and making craft beer. The people who pioneered the current movement have some of the largest breweries in the U.S., and are making a killing by brewing unique beer. In fact, the microbrewery business is becoming one of the most profitable industries in the United States right now.
Major Economic Boost
While many people think craft beer is the latest fad, the reality is that microbreweries and craft beer are adding quite a bit of money to the economy. It’s estimated that the total contribution that craft beer has made to the GDP of the United States was about $56 billion in 2014. It has also generated over 420,000 jobs, out of which the breweries and their storefronts and factories directly created 115,000 of those jobs. That’s a lot of people who are then able to add to the economy because they found a job in the industry.
Craft brews are one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. In 2014, beer production in general only grew by half a percent, but craft brew sales within the U.S. went up nearly 18 percent, and the exports for craft beer went up nearly 4 percent. That’s a lot of growth, no matter what industry you’re in. There are over 3,000 breweries in the U.S., and that number has increased steadily by about 10 percent each year for the past three years (since 2012). It is becoming such a movement that “Big Beer” is taking notice.
One of the major concerns about craft brewing is that it will eventually overtake the big breweries like Anheuser-Busch. For this reason, “Big Beer” is dabbling in the craft brew industry as well, buying up highly popular craft brew brands and beginning to sell them mass-market style. The craft breweries make huge amounts of money when this happens, and also have access to brewery plants that allow much higher generation and production. Of course, this means that “Big Beer” will never lose the famed “Beer Wars.” After all, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Wall Street loves craft breweries. Consider the story of Sam Adam’s Boston Lager, and its creator Jim Koch. In the 80’s, the beer’s public stock went for about $15 a share, and now is over $350 a share. Private investors also love these breweries, as they often make a huge return on investments. Many investors also buy and combine breweries for lowered production costs and higher volume output, and then manage to generate a lot more income. Craft brew is solid money if you have the right kind of beer.
There are plenty of reasons that craft beer is so popular, but because of its popularity and the craft behind making it, it is generally much more expensive than “Big Beer” brands, making it much more profitable for the companies and breweries that produce them.