If you were in Washington D.C. for the annual Craft Brewers Conference, you probably left encouraged by the enthusiasm, innovation, and dedicated talent we have in the beer industry. This was certainly made evident in the Craft Brewers Conference 2017 State of the Industry Address.

Delivered by the Brewers Associations director, Paul Gatza, and chief economist, Bart Watson, the address highlighted both the good news and the bad news throughout the beer industry, and it was summarized in a recent article from Brewbound.

The bad news is that, yes, growth is slowing in the industry, but that doesn't mean the industry is unhealthy by any stretch of the imagination.

“You can’t keep growing 18 percent year, over year, over year, when you get to an industry of our size,” Watson said. “At 25 million barrels, 18 percent is more than 4 million barrels. That’s just not happening anymore.”

That being said, 2016 was still a positive year for beer with craft beer volumes growing by six percent and import volumes growing by seven percent. In addition, large domestic specialty beers also grew by about two percent.

All in all, 2016 was still the fifth best year in the history of craft beers.

Other highlights and points of interest include:

  • Microbreweries "are the clear winner" as they are bolstered by tasting rooms and tap rooms. Most of last year's 800+ openings were in this market segment.
  • There are currently more than 5,300 breweries in the United States, with an average of two new ones opening each day.
  • Craft beer volume share increased 12.3 percent last year, and this includes the number of barrels lost to large brewery acquisitions.

With all this beer flowing across the country, it's important it's delivered in the right condition and as quickly and profitably for operators. Make the most out of your beer program by implementing a proper beer system.

Learn more about beer systems in our latest Perlick Guide to Beer Systems.

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