Want proof that craft beer is super popular? (Besides the nifty articles on this blog?)
The Brewers Association released its preliminary data on craft beer for 2013, and the numbers are staggering.
With all of its diversity and thousands of producers, craft beer (defined as any small, independent brewery that makes under 6 million barrels annually) grew 18 percent volumewise to now take up 7.8 percent of the entire beer market. In 2012, that number was 6.5 percent.
Though it's still making only a relatively small piece of the beer pie, craft brewers raked in more than $14.3 billion out of a total $100 billion industry. With a higher premium on quality ingredients and small batch sizes, we should see the dollar per ounce remain fairly high for craft.
Additionally, it was noted that the total number of operating breweries hit 2,822, 98 percent of those being craft breweries. Overall, 413 new breweries opened in 2013, about on par with the number in 2012.
And even though those numbers might look impressive, what's really important is that in this recovering economy, craft brewers employ 110,273 people throughout the country.
It should come as no surprise that this industry is flourishing -- after all, there are now more than 50 breweries in Florida, whereas there were single digits only a few years ago. Growing pains have been felt at establishments across the state, both with running out of capacity and an influx of people wanting to drink their product.
Despite this impressive growth -- or more likely, because of it -- some in Florida are seeking to double down on their efforts to regulate an already red-tape-laden industry. State representatives like Ray Rodrigues aim to prevent choice within the three-tier system for producers of beer.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.