United States of Craft Beer: Which Regions Sell the Most?
West Is Powerhouse But Other Regions, Including Middle America, Are Gaining
New York's craft-brewing industry got a boost today with news that the state will restore a tax break and allow craft-brew sales at farmers markets -- because who doesn't need some ale to go with that freshly picked corn?
"This legislation will give our state's growing craft-beer industry the tools needed to create jobs, promote agriculture and encourage environmentally friendly economic development across New York state," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, which reported the story. The AP noted that the state's craft-brewing industry has doubled in the last 10 years, citing industry figures, and the restoration of the tax break certainly illustrates the rising clout of the fast-growing sector.
"The Pacific Northwest and California have always been very strong in craft and much of the rest of the country has spent time catching up," said Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association. But other regions are gaining fast, as the craft-brew craze hits towns big and small. Consider the Plains states, where craft-brewery share is still in the single digits, but sales growth was 16% in 2011, according to SymphonyIRI, which does not include bar or restaurant sales.
Craft ventures are sprouting on an almost weekly basis it seems. The story of 612Brew is typical. Four friends who got their start home brewing announced the new Minneapolis brewery this week, taking the name from the city's area code and their launch date (6/12/12). Two beers are planned: "SIX," a "sessionable American pale ale" and "Rated R," a "spicy and hoppy" rye IPA.
"States like California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado support hundreds of small and independent breweries. We're excited that Minnesota is growing into a formidable beer state as well," Ryan Libby, marketing director and co-founder, said in a statement the day of the launch.