As craft brewers continue to make waves in an evolving market, the Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo., looked back on the craft brewing community’s contributions, highlights and defining beer moments of the past year.

“The brewing landscape is shifting, yet small and independent breweries continue to find market success,” said Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association, in a statement. “Brewers are finding ways to differentiate themselves in a competitive market, become pillars of communities, and embrace new experiences and occasions to connect with beer lovers.”

The following are highlights from 2018:

  • Stable and steady: The craft brewing industry continues to grow. The Brewers Association’s mid-year survey measured 5 percent growth by volume, and although there have been signs of slightly slower growth in the second half of the year, it is clear that craft beer sales will once again reach a new high in 2018.
  • Big impact from small breweries: As craft’s market share has grown, so has its economic impact, which totals more than $76 billion. The craft brewing community is responsible for 500,000 jobs, with more than 135,000 of those directly at breweries and brewpubs.
  • 7,000 strong and growing: The number of breweries in the United States hit yet another all-time high in 2018, eclipsing 7,000 at the end of October. Although the final numbers are still being compiled, there will potentially be 1,000 brewery openings in 2018.
  • #SeektheSeal: More than 4,000 craft brewing companies have adopted the independent craft brewer seal since its inception in June 2017, representing 85 percent of the volume of craft beer brewed. Beer lovers are encouraged to hash tag #SeektheSeal via the Brewers Association’s first-ever national advertising campaign That’s Independence You’re Tasting.
  • Community hubs: 85 percent of 21+ adults live within 10 miles of a brewery. The continued growth in breweries means that more communities have a local brewery and it is easier than ever to tour or visit one.
  • Investing in the future: Craft brewers are putting their savings from a recalibrated federal excise tax to work through economic development, new hires, increased employee benefits and pay, and increased charitable contributions.
  • The haze craze: The Brewers Association added three juicy or hazy styles to its Beer Style Guidelines and Great American Beer Festival competition in 2018, resulting in a record number of entries. Additionally, brewers continue to innovate and create emerging styles that offer new opportunities to connect with a diverse audience of beer lovers.
  • Just brew it: It’s estimated that 1.1 million homebrewers in the United States brewed 1.4 million barrels of beer, equal to 1 percent of U.S. beer production. BI