US craft-beer production remained static in 2022 in volume and market share, data shows.

In 2022, small and independent brewers produced 24.3m barrels of beer, compared to 24.8m in 2021, according to trade association the Brewers Association (BA).

Craft beer’s overall market share by volume grew 0.1 percentage points to 13.2% compared to the previous year.

The BA, which represents small and independent American craft brewers, said growth for the category was “hard to come by”.

“2022 presented small brewers with a number of challenges, including rising operating and material costs and increasing competition, particularly in distribution,” said Bart Watson, BA chief economist.

“In this maturing and competitive market, collective growth for the category is hard to come by.”

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By GlobalData

Watson noted a rebound in sales in 2021 following the pandemic slump as consumers returned to the on-premise. But in last year’s report he predicted many would remain in “recovery mode” in 2022 amid ongoing supply chain and pricing challenges.

The BA defines a craft brewery as one with an annual production of 6m barrels of beer or less, at least 75% self-owned or controlled by another craft brewer.

Each year it also analyses the top 50 US craft brewing companies based on beer sales volume.

A map showing locations of the top 50 producing craft brewing companies in the US in 2022, based on beer sales volume.
Locations of the top-50 producing craft brewing companies in the US in 2022, based on beer sales volume. Credit: Brewers Association

Pennsylvania-based D.G. Yuengling and Son remained in pole position once again in 2022. It is also the seventh-largest brewery in the overall US beer market, with Anheuser-Busch the biggest.

Boston Beer Co., Sierra Nevada Brewing, Duvel Moortgat USA and Gambrinus also retained their top five spots in the craft-brewing list.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery Inc, which was the country’s sixth-largest craft brewery last year, was removed from the list after having sold to Lion Little World Beverages, the Australasian subsidiary of Kirin Holdings. The combined company, Kirin-Lion / New Belgium Brewing, is now the country’s tenth-largest brewer.

In its place was North Carolina-headquartered brewing group Artisanal Brewing Ventures, which grew from eighth position in 2021, overtaking brewery collective CANarchy.

Among the list’s new entrants were Tilray Beer Brands, part of Canadian cannabis company Tilray, which expanded in the US last year with New York’s Montauk Brewing.

Tilray’s portfolio of craft-beer brands include Georgia’s Sweetwater Brewing Company and San Diego’s Green Flash. Tilray also owns Colorado bourbon and spirits brand Breckenridge Distillery.

Athletic Brewing, which holds approximately a 51% share of the US non-alcoholic craft beer category, moved from the 27th-largest craft brewer in 2021 to 13th in 2022. It was the 23rd-largest producer when pitted against all sizes of breweries.

Last year, Athletic Brewing sold a $50m minority stake to Keurig Dr Pepper and quadrupled production capacity with what it called the “world’s largest” alcohol-free brewery. CEO Bill Shufelt told Just Drinks Keurig was “a great advisor looking over our shoulder” and said it had no plans to sell to the soft-drinks major.