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The cost of a beer the year you turned 21

  • 2012

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.25
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.40 (#56 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 2,475
    - U.S. beer production: 195.7 million barrels (+1.6% change from previous year)

    After decades of consolidation among themselves, the world’s major brewers began eyeing the craft sector. This year marked the beginning of an ongoing trend of macros buying micros.

  • 2013

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.28
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.41 (#52 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 2,952
    - U.S. beer production: 191.6 million barrels (-2.1% change from previous year)

    The last two homebrew holdouts—Alabama and Mississippi—ended their prohibition on making beer at home. While dry counties may continue banning it, home brewing opened up everywhere else in the two Gulf Coast states.

  • 2014

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.28
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.39 (#59 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 3,785
    - U.S. beer production: 192.6 million barrels (+0.5% change from previous year)

    Over one new brewery opened every day in 2014. And these small producers gobbled up an ever-increasing share of the beer market; while overall beer production declined 1.4%, craft and microbrewed beers grew almost 10%.

  • 2015

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.32
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.43 (#47 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 4,588
    - U.S. beer production: 191.0 million barrels (-0.8% change from previous year)

    As of 2015, there were officially more breweries operating in America than ever before. And the biggest got even bigger as Anheuser-Busch InBev bought rival SABMiller.

  • 2016

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.35
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.45 (#40 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 5,491
    - U.S. beer production: 190.5 million barrels (-0.3% change from previous year)

    A new beverage arrived in full force this year: sparkling seltzers. Both micro- and macro-breweries raced to formulate their own hard seltzers to compete with sector titan White Claw.

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  • 2017

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.39
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.46 (#34 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 6,372
    - U.S. beer production: 185.6 million barrels (-2.6% change from previous year)

    With the explosive growth of craft breweries came a new concern: Does America have too many breweries? 2017 was a banner year for brewery openings…but also for closures.

  • 2018

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.41
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.45 (#41 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 7,450
    - U.S. beer production: 183.3 million barrels (-1.2% change from previous year)

    While overall production edged slightly down to 194 million barrels, America’s beer industry was bigger than ever in 2018. $114 billion of beer was sold, $27 billion of which was craft beer. Imports accounted for 18% of the market, craft beer commanded 13%, and big producers churned out the remainder.

  • 2019

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.43
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.44 (#42 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 8,386
    - U.S. beer production: 179.7 million barrels (-1.9% change from previous year)

    Many analysts in 2019 speculated the U.S. had reached its peak of craft beer. Microbrewery and brewpub closings skyrocketed since 2017 in what appeared to have become an oversaturated market.

  • 2020

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.47
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.47 (#32 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: not available
    - U.S. beer production: not available

    The U.S. could lose 30% of its craft-brewing businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic, as business models have been completely upended and revenues are down by double-digits. While much of the craft brewery business happens on-site, an uptick in bottle sales during the pandemic has helped to keep some craft brewers afloat.

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