America’s beer glass runneth over.
The number of breweries operating in the United States surpassed 7,000 this year, a new high mark, with about 1,000 more new breweries expected to open in 2019, according to the Brewers Association.
Small and independently owned breweries, or craft breweries, were making about 5 percent more beer at the middle of 2018 than the year before, when they produced 24.9 million barrels (about 772 million gallons) for the entire year.
But beer consumption as a whole is expected to, excuse the pun, remain flat.
All U.S. breweries, including major players Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, produced 196.3 billion barrels in 2017, a decline of 1.2 percent, the association says. That’s expected to fall another 1 percent once 2018’s amount is tallied.
After years of double-digit sales increases, sales of craft beer continue to grow but at a slower pace. Still, the nation’s regional breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs are expected to set another record sales mark in 2018, with about 7 to 8 percent growth, the association’s chief economist Bart Watson estimates.
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