Cheers! Number of U.S. Breweries Up 118% Since Great Recession

July 15, 2014 - 1:25 PM

Beers on bar

(AP Photo/Terry Kole)

( - One industry that came roaring back from the Great Recession that hit the United States between December 2007 and June 2009 is the brewing industry, according to data released this month by the Census Bureau.

This resurgence has been largely driven by small businesses—breweries that employ 19 or fewer workers.

Between 2007 and 2012, the net number of brewing establishments in the United States increased by 471, with the total number of establishments climbing from 398 to 869—an increase of 118 percent.

Number of Breweries

412 of these net new brewery establishments were among those that employed 19 or fewer people, with these types of breweries numbering 293 in 2007 and growing to 705 in 2012.

As counted by the Census, a brewery establishment is a “single physical location,” as opposed to a single brewing company, which might operate at multiple locations. The Census data showed, however, that the number of separate companies owning brewing establishments also grew dramatically from 2007 to 2012, climbing from 371 to 833—an increase of 462 companies (or 125 percent).

Small breweries

Also between 2007 and 2012, the value of the products shipped from U.S. breweries climbed from $21,193,061,000 to $28,316,556,000, an increase of $7,123,495,000—or 33.6 percent.

Value of Beer

From 1997 to 2007, according to the Census Bureau, the number of people employed at breweries in the United States dropped from 34,251 to 22,252—a decline of 11,999 workers, or 35 percent. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of people employed at breweries rebounded to 26,077, an increase of 3,825, or 17.2 percent.

Brewery employees

“While overall employment grew, the average number of employees per establishment was nearly halved, from 56 in 2007 to 30 in 2012,” said the Census Bureau.

The data on the breweries is part of the Census Bureau’s Economic Census. “The economic census is conducted every five years and provides a comprehensive and detailed profile of the U.S. economy, covering millions of businesses representing more than 1,000 industries and providing unique portraits of American industries and local communities,” said the Census Bureau.