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There are over 5,301 breweries operating in America

The Brewers Association, the non-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, has released a bit more 2016 data. Here’s how last year looked.

Another record breaking number of breweries are operating in the United States – 5,301 in total. That’s a 17% increase over 2015. Of that total, 5,234 breweries are considered “craft” by the Brewers Association.

2016 saw 826 brewery openings, 97 closings. Still strong growth industry wide. When Beer Street Journal went online nearly 9 years ago, there were just over 1,000 breweries in America. The number of breweries, beers, and beer consumers has grown steadily ever since.

Brewing means jobs. At the end of 2016, the craft segment alone provided 128,768 hard working folks with gainful, sudsy employment. That’s 5.7% higher than 2015.

This is where things get a little sticky. How the Brewers Association interprets the data. The  Brewers Association interprets overall volume and jobs dependent on their definition of a small and independent craft brewery. Each year some output volume and craft sales numbers will not be included in the final data, like when a brewery buyout occurs and their status changes. For example, if a brewery is purchased by AB-InBev, their volume data will drop out of the craft segment total. Full breakdown by Bart Watson from the BA, HERE.

Overall, the numbers are pretty feel good. Craft retail dollars broke $23 billion in 2016, a 10% increase. That’a 21.9% dollar share of America’s $107.9 billion dollar beer industry.

America remains thirsty. We’ll drink to that.