There are 6,400 breweries in the United States
There are now more than 6,400 breweries in operation in the United States, up from a low of 89 in the late 1970s, and more than 6,600 wineries.
Moreover, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, two major industry trends mark the last few decades.
On the one hand, the significant growth in the number of small “craft” producers of beer, wine and spirits.
There are also more than 1,900 distilleries in operation.
These companies are spread throughout the country and have contributed to forging a solid worldwide reputation for quality and craftsmanship.
In recent decades, the United States has become an innovator in introducing new types of beers, wines and spirits to the world.
However, the second trend is consolidation, especially in the distribution and/or retailing of beer, wine and spirits, and in the production of beer in the United States.
Significant consolidation in distribution has occurred in many states.
At the same time, two brewers have dominated U.S. markets since 2008 and today account for approximately 65% of the beer market nationwide, measured in terms of revenue.
Within the “three-tier” category, some states allow brewers to self-distribute, but this is often restricted and tied to the size of production, so it is geared toward small brewers.
For example, Indiana allows brewers producing up to 90,000 barrels of beer per year within the state to self-distribute 30,000 barrels within the state.
Brewers with higher volumes must use distributors.
Some states allow a “two-tier system,” meaning that brewers can either own distributors or distribute their own beer without restrictions.
For example, ABI is vertically integrated and owns distributors in states such as California and Colorado.
According to one industry association, there were 3,000 beer distributors in the United States in 2020.
However, focusing on the total number of distributors, even at the state level, can obscure local market realities, as distributor contracts with brewers often contain territorial limits and prohibit distributors from selling beer outside their respective territories, often based on state law.
Major craft beer companies in the United States include Yuengling, Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Duvel Moortgat, Gambrinus, CANarchy, Bell’s Brewery and Artisanal Brewing Ventures.