It may not seem like it after a booze-filled Fourth of July weekend, but Americans are drinking less and less beer now.
This isn't actually a new trend. Gallup data show that beer preference has steadily declined in recent years. As of 2013, just 36 percent of Americans say they prefer beer, in line with the 35 percent of Americans who say they prefer wine. That's a 20-point swing in 20 years.
New numbers from Beer Marketer's Insights show that the trend is continuing, as U.S. beer consumption declined from 28.3 gallons per drinking-age person in 2012 to 27.6 gallons in 2013. From 2002 to 2012, the study notes, beer consumption declined 8.6 percent, while wine consumption increased by 15.2 percent and spirit consumption rose by 20.9 percent.
What's interesting, though, is that there are more breweries in the U.S. — up from 398 in 2007 to 869 in 2012 — according to new U.S. Census Bureau data. And those breweries are employing more people than ever before, with the workforce jumping 17.2 percent in five years to 23,456 employees.
So, how is it that the number of breweries is going up in the U.S., but beer consumption is going down? The answer is craft beer.
The largest increase in the number of breweries in the United States over the five-year period is with those that have fewer than 20 employees (the size of most craft breweries) — accounting for 295 breweries in 2007 and 705 in 2012.