Alltech Releases First-ever Global Craft Beer Survey

photo by Cassie Bays
photo by Cassie Bays

A survey of 128 countries around the world by biotechnology leader Alltech shows not only huge growth in the craft beer industry but suggests possible growth ahead in the East.

The Global Craft Beer Survey showed, among other things, that only one of the 10 most populous countries surveyed has at least one brewery per 100,000 people, and that country is the United States; however, Europe does beat out North America for the highest number of craft breweries, if only just barely.

Other notable reveals include Oslo, Norway, being the most expensive city in the world for beer. Meanwhile, Switzerland ranks No. 8 for its total number of craft breweries, despite its comparatively smaller Gross Domestic Product and population.

The thrust of the survey is that craft brewing is thriving and still growing. In fact, the U.S. recently topped 4,000 craft breweries, showing a 20 percent growth over the past year – the most growth in any country. There are currently more than 10,000 breweries worldwide, the study showed.

Overall, the craft beer industry’s net worth is estimated at $50 billion.

Alltech Infographic1
Alltech Infographic1

“The rise of craft beer as a beverage of choice is indicative of consumers’ demand for differentiated, interesting and quality products,” said Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer of Alltech. Alltech, which focuses mostly on grains and animal nutrition, but hails itself as “yeast experts,” got into the brewing business 15 years ago when it purchased a brewery in Lexington, Ky.

“During that time we have witnessed the development of more discerning drinkers as consumers switch from the big beer brands to those with distinctive taste and a story to tell,” Connolly said. “This change in consumer sentiment and demand has obviously driven the big beer brands, like AB InBev and SABMiller, to join ranks.”

China and India rank among the top 10 countries for population and GDP, according to the report, yet neither country has more than 60 craft breweries. That, Connelly suggests, could point to big growth in the near future. Other numbers brought forth by the survey are intriguing as well.

“It is fascinating to compare the number of craft breweries in each country to that of its population,” Connelly said. “When it comes to craft breweries per head, Switzerland is 39th in terms of top craft beer producing nations yet it ranks number one by breweries/population with close to five craft breweries per 100,000 people.”

Alltech is sponsor of The Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair held annually in Ireland. The event returns to Dublin’s Convention Centre Feb. 5 – 7, 2016.