A record number of breweries opened or went out of business in 2017, according to statistics released last week by the Brewers Association.
An estimated 997 new breweries opened and 165 closed, the Colorado-based craft beer trade group said. Both are highs since the American beer industry was jolted by the birth of craft beer in the late 1970s.
The country had 6,266 breweries in 2017, the Brewers Association said, a stark contrast to just 10 years ago, when the nation had about 1,500 breweries.
Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson said the volatility is "a natural function of a maturing industry."
With 2,500 more breweries planned, he said, the industry is likely to see more fluctuation.
Craft beer nudged upward to 12.7 percent of the American beer industry; for the past two years, it was 12.1 percent. As recently as 2013, it was still less than 8 percent.
Craft beer also grew 5 percent in 2017 in terms of overall volume — a slowdown from the previous year. In 2016, craft beer volume grew 6.2 percent, which ended a six-year run of double-digit annual growth.