Remember, though. 11% of a small number is still a small number. Craft brewers sold approximately 10 million barrels of beer in 2010, up from approximately 9 million barrels. Still, 10 million barrels represents a mere fraction, only 4.9%, of the total amount of beer consumed in the United States. For those keeping score at home that means that total US consumption was approximately 204,081,633 barrels in 2010.
Also, remember when we said that Sam Adams was causing a problem for the Brewers Association because it had outgrown the definition of "craft beer" set by the lobbying group? Sam Adams produced over 2 million of that 10 million barrels, or a full 20% of the craft beer output for the year. Boston Beer's gain is all of our gain, I suppose.
Of course, just looking at Wisconsin, it would be hard to argue that the rest of the industry wasn't at least coming along for the ride. New Glarus, Central Waters, O'So, Milwaukee Brewing Company, and Ale Asylum have all recently built new breweries or are in the process of building a new brewery. Tyranena is doing well in the Chicago market and other breweries like Lakefront and Capital, not to mention Hinterland, Furthermore, and Pearl Street have all increased production. New breweries are opening this year in the Dells and Madison.
But, to get to even 10% of the domestic market, craft beer, as a whole, needs to double its current output. 20 million barrels will not all come from Sam Adams. The industry needs to find a way for breweries like Dogfish Head, Harpoon, Great Lakes, Bells, Goose Island, Lagunitas, Stone, and ... dare I say ... New Glarus to make significant in-roads on the swill-guzzling masses.
How do you get my father to drink craft beer is an interesting problem. How do you get stadiums to serve craft beer is an interesting problem. How do you get students to party with craft beer is an interesting problem. How do you get distributors to stop giving incentives to retailers for pushing non-craft beer is an interesting problem. How do you get non-craft beer producers to stop bribing and extorting distributors is an interesting problem.
How do you get people to pay for craft beer is a really interesting problem.