Sep 13, 2022 - News

Florida craft breweries bounce back

Motorworks Brewing in Bradenton. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

Florida's largest craft breweries rebounded big one year after the pandemic crippled the industry.

The state of beer: Florida Beer Co. of Cape Canaveral, which bought Ybor City Brewing Company in 2005 and is the state's second largest craft brewer, saw a 39% increase in sales in 2021 from the prior year, according to an exclusive Axios analysis of data from the Brewers Association.

  • The state's third largest craft brewer, Coppertail Brewing in Tampa, grew by 20% last year after dropping by about the same between 2019 and 2020.
  • The largest, Cigar City, collected under CANarchy, grew by 3%.
  • Rounding out the list: The Florida Brewery in Auburndale grew 6%; Tampa Bay Brewing grew 19%; St. Pete's 3 Daughters grew 36%; Oyster City Brewing in Apalachicola grew 52%.
  • In 2021, Florida saw eight breweries close and 28 open, the data shows.

The big picture: The craft beer industry overall grew by 8% in 2021, Axios Denver's John Frank reports.

Between the lines: The annual data β€” published for its members in the New Brewer journal β€” is the most comprehensive breakdown of the state's craft beer industry.

Yes, but: Not all craft brewers are represented in the rankings because some do not submit sales and production data to the Colorado-based Brewers Association, the industry's trade group.

  • Our analysis looked at sales reported to the association from breweries, brewpubs and taprooms, but excluded contract brewers.
  • Also excluded are local breweries that don't meet the definition of independent, where less than 25% of the brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.

What's next: Bart Watson, an economist for the association, says 2022 is producing mixed results with overall growth projected to be 4%–5%.

  • Inflation on the cost of raw goods, particularly grain, is hurting the industry. So is competition from other alcohol products, such as canned cocktails and seltzers.
  • But, there's one clear pandemic recovery, he said in a recent industry briefing: "Brewery sales are stronger and still growing."

The bottom line: For the next year, Watson anticipates an elevated "long-term growth rate … but below [2021] when there was still strong growth bouncing back from those pandemic losses."


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Tampa Bay stories

No stories could be found

Tampa Baypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more