The craft beer industry's spirited run continued at a record pace in 2013.
The industry consisting of mom-and-pop operations such as Wild Woods Brewing in Boulder and global players like Sam Adams posted $14.3 billion in revenue last year and snagged a 7.8 percent market share of the overall U.S. beer industry, according to a report released Monday by the Brewers Association.
In 2013, the volume of craft beer produced grew by 18 percent, or 15.6 million barrels, and sales in dollars increased by 20 percent, according to the Boulder-based trade group that represents the industry.
Craft beer has averaged 10.9 percent growth per year during the past decade, said Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association.
"What's fueling this ... is the increased number of breweries and the increased production — particularly from the regional craft brewers as well as the microbreweries," she said.
Craft brewing operations — which are classified as small, independent brewers that produce fewer than 6 million barrels of beer annually — accounted for 2,768, or 98 percent, of the 2,822 total breweries in operation in the United States.
During that year, 413 breweries opened and 44 breweries closed.
The craft beer industry has added more than 1,000 breweries to its ranks since 2010, an analysis of Brewers Association data shows.
Another 1,744 breweries are in the planning stages.
Boom times in Boulder County
Boulder County and the northern Front Range have not been immune from that boom.
Since 2013, a dozen craft breweries opened their doors, bringing Boulder, Broomfield and Weld counties' count close to 40 breweries.
Another 30 breweries are listed "in planning" for the region, according to a listing on the Brewers Association's website.
Although concerns have been raised about an over-saturation of the market, Brewers Association officials don't believe that to be the case.
"There's exponential room for growth," Herz said, noting that 7,000 wineries operate in the United States.
Additionally, when adjusting for population levels, the amount of breweries that operated prior to prohibition would equate to 10,700 now, she said.
Ian Clark, the brewer and chef who opened BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats last year at 5290 Arapahoe Ave. in Boulder, said the number of breweries in planning surprised him, but he takes a more-the-merrier type of attitude.
"It's such a small percentage of the market share already," Clark said. "I think that people drinking better beer and more brewers making better craft beer is good for all of us."
New arrival in Longmont
The newest addition to Boulder County's brewery scene is 300 Suns Brewing, which opened three weeks ago off First Avenue and Main Street in Longmont.
Sales have outpaced founders' projections and the brewery has been "crazy-busy," co-owner Dan Ditslear said.
"We looked at all the Brewers Association numbers over the past 12 years and it's always got at least a little bit of a gain every year," he said. "We thought we could only go up from there."
The heady demand for craft beer also has benefited established brewers such as Boulder's Twisted Pine Brewing Co., said Bob Baile, president of the brewery off 32nd and Walnut streets.
Last year, Twisted Pine recorded production growth of 20 percent and dollar sales growth of 31 percent, he said. The brewery's Ale House, which was expanded in June 2012, posted sales gains of "well over" 30 percent.
"And we're on track to do another 30 (percent) this year," Baile said.
While craft beer and Colorado beers remain popular, Twisted Pine's recipe for continued growth hinges on remaining fluid, he said.
The company plans to continue a rebranding effort this year with its packaging; to eliminate its Brown, Blonde and Amber ales from its 12-ounce bottle rotation and replace those with Hoppy Boy and a Saison; and to focus on increasing the variety of 22-ounce bombers, 750-mililiters and 6-barrel kegs.
"I think that's where this industry is going; we'll see a lot more specialties," Baile said.
The craft brewing industry contributed $33.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012 and $1.6 million to Colorado that year, the Brewers Association reported.
Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or email@example.com