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Alltech releases first Global Craft Beer Survey

U.S. has more than 4,000 craft breweries

DUNBOYNE, Ireland (Nov. 9, 2015) — There are more than 10,000 craft breweries in the world, more than 4,000 of them in the U.S., a 20 percent increase from last year, according to the first Global Craft Beer Survey, conducted by Alltech.

craftOf the 128 countries with craft breweries in which Alltech operates, 86 percent of breweries are in North America and Europe. The U.S. leads with the most craft breweries, followed by the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Russia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Brazil and Japan.

The U.S. is the only one of the top ten most populous countries with a brewery per every 100,000 people.

“The rise of craft beer as a beverage of choice is indicative of consumers’ demand for differentiated, interesting and quality products,” said Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer of Alltech. “Alltech’s history is rooted as a supplier of yeast not only to the animal nutrition industry but also to the beverage industry. It has been 15 years since we acquired the Lexington Brewing Company and during that time we have witnessed the development of more discerning drinkers as consumers switch from the big beer brands to those with distinctive taste and a story to tell. This change in consumer sentiment and demand has obviously driven the big beer brands, like AB InBev and SABMiller, to join ranks.”

Connolly, the organizer of the survey, said one distinctive point to note with this survey is in relation to each country’s population.

“It is fascinating to compare the number of craft breweries in each country to that of its population,” he said. “When it comes to craft breweries per head, Switzerland is 39th in terms of top craft beer producing nations yet it ranks number one by breweries/population with close to five craft breweries per 100,000 people. In yet another twist, while it has more breweries per head, surprisingly beer is not cheap. Zürich, its most populous city, is ranked number two as the most expensive city to buy beer.”

The Global Craft Beer Survey raises some questions in regard to other regions of the world and their uptake of the craft brewing phenomenon. For example, China and India rank among the top ten countries for population and GDP yet neither country has more than 60 craft breweries. Given that China rivals the U.S. as beer drinkers with close to a doubling in terms of consumption, will there be a brewery boom in the country’s future?

Overall, Connolly estimates the craft beer industry’s net worth at $50 billion.