Apr 24, 2023 - Business

Pennsylvania craft brewers among top producers

Data: Brewers Association; Chart: Axios Visuals

Four of Pennsylvania's craft brewers were among the country's top 50 producers last year, even as the industry faces an inflection point.

Why it matters: After rebounding from the pandemic, 2022 marked the first time in history the industry didn't see year-over-year production percentage growth, Axios’ John Frank writes.

Zoom in: Pottsville-based D.G. Yuengling and Sons — the oldest brewery in the U.S. — maintained its No. 1 ranking for production, per an annual report released from the Brewers Association last week.

The intrigue: All four landed in the top 50 U.S. breweries overall, a club dominated by Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors.

State of beer: The number of new craft breweries opening decreased for the second consecutive year, while the closings rate increased to 3%.

Yes, but: Craft fared better than the overall beer market, which saw production volume decline 3% in 2022. And the number of craft breweries overall climbed to an all-time high of 9,552.

By the numbers: Pennsylvania has more than 500 active breweries, per the Brewers Association.

  • 46 breweries opened last year while 17 closed.

What they’re saying: Craft beer's boom over the last decade appears to have ended as growth and sales slow and competition increases, Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, tells Axios.

  • The industry is "going to have to find some new direction and new opportunities if it’s going to grow like it did before," he said.

What to watch: Challenges facing brewers this year include inflation, labor shortages, competition and market access, Watson said.

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