- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The number of U.S. breweries more than doubled between 2007 and 2012, according to Census data released Tuesday that shows the beer business is booming.

Breweries reported $28.3 billion in shipments in 2012, a nearly 34-percent increase from five years prior, while the total number of breweries spiked from 398 to 869, said the report from Census’ 2012 Economic Census Industry Series.

The industry’s growth also had a net positive effect on job creation, up 17.2 percent in 2012 from 2007 (26,077 employees versus 22,252). Despite the overall increase, the average number of employees per establishment nearly halved from 56 in 2007 to 30 in 2012.

Keg shipments spiked in particular, spiking 88.2 percent to $2.4 billion in business in 2012, although they represent a small fraction of beer shipments overall.

Wineries also are in on the action, employing 37,602 people in 2012 — up from 33,390 in 2007.

Shipments were roughly split between red and white wine — 31.6 percent to 29.2 percent — while rose and wines based on other fruits or berries accounted for 2.6 percent.