U.S. Breweries are Booming According to Census Bureau

Americans love their beer and the booming brewery market is the proof. The number of U.S. breweries more than doubled between 2007 and 2012, from 398 to 869, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The breweries industry reported $28.3 billion in shipments in 2012, an increase of nearly 33.6 percent since 2007.

Employment in the breweries industry also climbed over the five-year span, rising to 26,077 employees in 2012, up by 3,825 or 17.2 percent, from 22,252 in 2007. While overall employment grew, the average number of employees per establishment was nearly halved, from 56 in 2007 to 30 in 2012. Average payroll per employee changed little between 2007 and 2012, increasing by 4.4 percent over the five-year period. 

These data are part of the 2012 Economic Census Industry Series, which publishes data profiles of detailed industries, including information on the specific product and service — data only available from the economic census. These data are collected for establishments, which are typically single physical locations of a business that produce or distribute goods or perform services.

For example, the economic census data tell us that beer shipments in kegs have grown substantially but still represent just a fraction of overall beer shipments. Specifically:

Beer shipments in barrels and kegs rose 88.2 percent to $2.4 billion in 2012. In 2012, kegs represented 8.6 percent of beer shipments, up from 6.1 percent in 2007. In comparison, beer shipments in cans increased 32.1 percent between 2007 and 2012: $10.9 billion to $14.3 billion. 

Today's release of economic census data also includes information on U.S. wineries. Highlights include:

  • The wineries industry employed 37,602 people in 2012, up from 33,390 people in 2007.
  • Average payroll per employee was $46,482 in 2012, a 10.7 percent increase from 2007.
  • Total product shipments of wineries was fairly evenly split between red and white wine: 31.6 percent red wine, 29.2 percent white wine, while rose grape and other fruit and berry wines accounted for 2.6 percent of total shipments.

In addition, today's released data includes statistics for beer, wine and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers. Highlights include:

Sales of distilled liquor by beer, wine and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers increased 29.9 percent from 2007 to 2012, outpacing the increases observed in wine sales (16.5 percent increase) and beer sales (9.6 percent increase) during the same period. Wine and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers reported $78.3 billion in sales, a 23.6 percent increase from 2007 to 2012. By comparison, beer and ale merchant wholesalers reported sales of $57.7 billion in 2012, up 10.7 percent.

Beer, wine and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers is the first industry to be released in the wholesale trade sector. Data for gasoline stations were also released today, which represents the first industry in the retail trade sector for which 2012 Economic Census Industry Series data have been released.