The Brewers Association has released their annual craft beer industry growth report, which craft beer passed with flying colors thanks to 4 percent total growth. The report states that, in 2018, craft brewers produced 25.9 million barrels, increasing craft beer’s market share by volume to 13.2 percent. That marks a 0.6% increase over 2017, and a 1.1% increase over 2016.

Furthermore, the growth report states that retail dollar value, estimated at $27.6 billion, represents 24.1 percent market share and a 7 percent growth over 2017, despite the overall beer market dropping 1 percent by volume in 2018.

However, perhaps the most important metric was that craft brewers provided more than 150,000 jobs nationwide, an increase of 11 percent over 2017. 7,346 craft breweries operated in 2018, including 4,521 microbreweries, 2,594 brewpubs, and 231 regional craft breweries, with only 219 brewery closings over the past year as compared to 1,049 openings.

New York State was a major driving force behind craft beer’s growth nationwide, accounting for 19,918 jobs, approximately 2 million barrels produced and $5.4 billion in total economic impact. Narrowing the scope to the Buffalo-Niagara region, Erie County leads the way with $294,637,850 of total revenue output (24 breweries, 1,385 jobs). Behind Erie sits Chautauqua County ($86,468,759, 6 breweries, 268 jobs), Cattaraugus ($62,725,265, 4 breweries, 307 jobs), Niagara ($30,161,713, 3 breweries, 178 jobs) and Wyoming ($14,097,070, 3 breweries, 71 jobs).

That growth can certainly be felt right here in our own backyard with a number of breweries either opening, expanding or opening second locations. Community Beer Works upgraded their digs, going from Lafayette to a beautiful new facility on Seventh, Resurgence Brewing’s new 25,000 square foot brewery in the Old First Ward will be open soon and Buffalo Brewing Company is eyeing an expansion with the former Schreiber Brewing Company building on Fillmore in mind. Even more breweries have, or are planning, second locations, including Woodcock Brothers, whose North Tonawanda brewpub is open now, Thin Man Brewery, whose new location on Chandler should be open VERY soon, New York Beer Project have a second home up the road in Victor and Rusty Nickel also have a downtown location in mind. And that’s not even to mention 42 North’s expansion project, which is currently underway in East Aurora, and the recent brewhouse upgrades to Old First Ward Brewing and West Shore Brewing, as well as the recent openings of Belt Line Brewery, Froth Brewing, Big Inlet Brewing, In the Mix Brewing and Prosper Brewing.

So yes, growth is all around us and locally made craft beer is the catalyst. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like something worth raising a pint to.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and