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Gotta Have Faith | AB InBev vs. Craft Beer

Posted by Tapped Life on

As we close out 2013 and look to the future of Craft, we have a tasty David vs. Goliath tale before us. Every year, we applaud the statistics of the growing Craft Beer industry; the leaps and bounds in revenue, growing distribution and increased barrels produced. We hear of the decline of Big Beer and revel in its demise. Their loss of market share is our gain. We’re winning the decisive battles in this brewery war. Gotta have faith | AB inbev vs. craft beer.

Yes, there is much progress being made on the side of the Davids: the small, independent craft brewers who pour their heart and souls (and sweat) into every barrel made. They are fighting the good fight. But the Goliaths aren’t ready to fall down just yet.

Here are some end-of-year stats to help put things in perspective. 

Anheuser-Busch InBev 2013 numbers (from recent Brewbound story)

-$14 billion in revenue

-47.6% market share

-13 breweries in US

Budweiser and Bud Light are the nucleus of AB’s business. Despite several years of volume declines, AB maintains its massive hold on the U.S. beer industry. A recent story by 24/7 Wall St. listed the top 9 beers Americans don’t drink any more. AB held the top 3: Michelob, Michelob Light and Budweiser Select.

Excerpt from the Brewbound story: “Even though Williams [Chris Williams, AB’s vice president of national retail sales] doesn’t claim to be feeling the heat from competition, he and his colleagues still recognize that preserving AB’s role as the top beer seller requires continual advancements.”

Craft Industry (2012 numbers)

-$11.9 billion in revenue

-Sales share: 6.5% by volume and 10.2% by dollars

-2,347 craft breweries operated at some point in 2012

According to the Brewers Association, small and independent American craft brewers contributed $33.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012. Billion—with a B. Craft beer provides 108,440 jobs (including service staff in brew pubs). All of these numbers continue to grow each year.

Bart Watson, the staff economist for the Brewers Association was quoted: “As consumers continue to demand a wide range of high quality, full-flavored beers, small and independent craft brewers are meeting this growing demand with innovative offerings, creating high levels of economic value in the process.” Read the whole article at Brewers Association.

The 2,347 Craft Breweries are creating $11.9 billion in revenue. The 13 AB InBev breweries are creating $14 billion. That’s pretty damn close for such a disparity. AB and the other Goliaths are playing it cool, but they know this game is about loyalty. As beer lovers continue to give their hearts and dollars to craft breweries, the Davids can have faith in their success in the battle for supremacy.


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