NC in Focus: Craft Breweries
Craft breweries are small, independent, and traditional, according to the definition given by the Brewers Association. This means that they produce fewer than 6 million barrels of beer annually, are not controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member, and predominantly brew beers that are made with traditional ingredients and flavor profiles.
Although overall U.S. beer sales were down 1.9% in 2013, craft beer sales increased by 17.2%, driven in part by a steady increase in the number of craft breweries nationwide. As many beer drinkers already know, North Carolina is home to numerous craft breweries, from Highland Brewing Company in Asheville to Big Boss Brewing Company in Raleigh to The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville.
With 91 craft breweries in 2013, North Carolina had the 9th largest number among the 50 states and DC. North Carolina had one more brewery than #10 Wisconsin and five less than #8 Texas. The state was 14th in overall craft beer production in 2013, producing about 263,500 barrels per beer or just under 2,900 barrels on average per brewery.