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Beer, Cider, & Sake


US beer statistics


Beer, Cider, & Sake 9

US beer statistics

ThomasvanDale | Mar 25, 2014 03:09 AM

I was more than a little surprised that there seemed to be so little interest in European beer statistics, but that will not prevent me from posting the US beer statistics as promised.

First of all, the statistics are massive and it takes too much time to put everything in one post, so I will make a series of posts. The data is contained in a spreadsheet of 47 pages.

Secondly, the breweries, for example, are described as "traditional" and "specialty". I have not seen the marketing term "craft" anywhere.

On to the show:

The brewery statistics alone cover 1887-2012. However, the first brewery listing is for 1810: there were 150 at the time and according to Wikipedia, the US population at the time was a bit over 7 million. By 1887, the number of breweries had jumped to 2,269. Population at the time was about 62 million. From then until World War one, the number of breweries changed yearly, but generally heading downward. By 1914, the first year of the war, there were 1,392 breweries left.

Another chart lists annual production and per capita production from 1860, though not all years include per capita figures. It would seem from general production (given in barrels) that industrialised brewing was gaining ground. So, in 1865, 3,657,181 barrels were produced, but only one year later that jumped to 5,115,140. Another year later (1867) and production was up to 6,207,402 barrels.

In 1860, 3.8 barrels were produced per capita (total population), but by 1890, that had jumped to 13.6 barrels. Unfortunately, the number of breweries before 1887 is not given, but from 1887 until 1893 the number was 2000 plus or minus a bit.

By 1919, after the war ended, the number of breweries had fallen to 669. However, production peaked in 1914 at over 66 million barrels. During the war, the number kept falling and ended in just under 28 million in 1919.

The next part is a bit confusing to me. Between 1920 and 1932, the number of breweries is given as zero. However, these "no breweries" produced between 9 and 3 million barrels per year. I know about the US prohibition, but where did all this production come from?

Per capita production, meanwhile peaked before the war at almost 21 barrels per head.

It took until 1942 for production to reach pre-WW one levels. Strangely, all during World War two, production increased to 86 million in 1945.

The highest per capita production was in 1982-3 at about 26 barrels per person. Overall production continued growing and in 2012 was just under 196 million barrels or 19.3 per capita. Production peaked, however, in 1990 at over 203 million barrels and has been going up and down yearly since then. The lowest recent production was 2011 at just under 193 million.

The number of breweries peaked in 1941 at 857. The number was in free-fall until 1979, when it reached a number lower even than 1810: 44 (42 traditional and 2 specialty). The "specialty" brewery first appears in 1966 until a second is added in 1977. These numbers then start climbing and the "traditional" start falling. The last year when traditional and specialty numbers are given is 2010: 20 traditional and 2,111 specialty. However, a total for 2012 is given as 2,751.

That's all for today. There will be at least one other post with more data, hopefully by tomorrow.

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