A recent Washington Post article claimed the craft beer industry has “grown less frothy,” citing that more craft breweries closed in 2017 than any time in the past decade. Should we start panicking?
No, no, let’s all take a deep breath. Because here’s the thing: according to the Brewers Association report, while last year saw 165 breweries close their doors, nearly 1,000 new breweries opened. The overall volume of breweries in the industry (including the macro overlords) may have dipped 1% in 2017, but craft brewers saw a 5% rise in the volume of beer being produced. That’s a lotta foam.
To be fair, The Washington Post isn’t just playing harbinger of doom by pointing out that the industry’s insane growth rate has begun to decelerate. After all, it’s unreasonable to expect an industry that brings in $26 billion per year will continue growing at the same double-digit rates. But instead of viewing this data as a sign that craft beer is losing its steam, we can see it as more of a signal that the industry is maturing.