Subscriber Exclusive

Feeling the Squeeze

As competition increases and the growth of craft slows, more small and mid-tier breweries are being impacted by the pressure—not because their beer is a problem but because everything else is.

Tom Wilmes Dec 21, 2017 - 9 min read

Feeling the Squeeze Primary Image

The biggest leap in new microbrewery openings happened between 2013, when more than 300 opened nationwide, and 2014, when more than 600 began operation, according to data from the Brewers Association. It was a frenzy of growth as existing breweries expanded, new breweries opened, and everyone wanted a piece of that red-hot craft-beer action. Many people suspected that the growth couldn’t sustain itself at that pace for long, but it was also increasingly difficult for breweries to forecast for the long haul while capturing as much of that opportunity as possible. No one likes to leave money on the table.

That is one reason why, as the rate of growth and new brewery openings has started to level off in recent years, the number of brewery closings has increased slightly. There are signs of contraction and consolidation throughout the industry, and some breweries are finding themselves overextended and exposed.

Behind the Eight Ball

“Craft brewing is in the midst of a serious shake out, and there’s blood in the water,” says Ken Lewis, founder of Ei8ht Ball Brewing Co. in Newport, Kentucky.

Make & Drink Better Beer

Subscribe today to access all of the premium brewing content available (including this article). With thousands of reviews, our subscribers call it "the perfect beer magazine" and "worth every penny." Your subscription is protected by a 100% money back guarantee.