Apr 7, 2022 - Business

Tampa Bay craft breweries rebound from pandemic

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

American craft brewers rebounded from the pandemic with 8% annual growth and 24.8 million barrels of beer in 2021, new data shows.

Why it matters: Tampa Bay has the most local craft breweries in Florida, with 99 brewers contributing to the state's $3.1 billion industry.

State of beer: The craft beer increase easily exceeded the overall beer market, which grew by 1% in 2021, as taprooms and brewpubs returned to life, per a report released Tuesday by the Brewers Association, the Boulder-based trade group.

  • 9,069 breweries were operating at the end of the year, and openings exceeded closures nearly four-fold.

What they're saying: Bart Watson, the association's chief economist, expects craft beer production to exceed pre-pandemic levels this year, but not all breweries will recover.

  • "Even with a bounce-back year, many breweries are still struggling," he told reporters during a media briefing. "2022 is going to be a make-or-break year for many breweries.

Of note: Women making local craft beer told the Tampa Bay Times last year that in the industry's male-dominated culture, colleagues and customers often don't see them as equals. Some detail instances of sexual harassment and misconduct.

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