Craft beer is growing by leaps and bounds. As reported by CraftBeer.com, the number of active breweries in the U.S. surged past 7,000 last month —boosted by small and independent openings— setting a new, all-time high.
The stat, provided by the Brewers Association’s Chief Economist Bart Watson, reveals that as of the end of October, there were 7,082 active breweries in the U.S. That’s an increase of more than 1,100 compared to the same time last year.
While the official breakdown for 2018 has yet to be released, the overwhelming majority of these breweries are what the Brewers Association defines as small and independent, or craft.
To be considered craft, a brewery must be small (producing 6 million barrels of beer per year or less); independent (less than 25 percent owned by a larger alcohol company that isn’t a craft brewery); and traditional (beers are made with traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation, as opposed to flavored malt beverages).
In 2017, craft brewers accounted for 6,266 of the 6,372 breweries in the country (roughly 98.4 percent), and the percentage for this year looks set to be the same, if not higher.
The best news of all? The record could likely be broken again next year, with more than 2,000-plus craft breweries currently in the works, according to the BA.