Boulder Valley, Northern Colorado craft brewers remain among largest as industry growth slows

BOULDER — Fort Collins-based Odell Brewing Co. and Longmont’s CANarchy Holding Co. LLC, a private equity-backed brewery collective with holdings that include Oskar Blues Brewing Co. and Tampa Bay’s Cigar City Brewing, were among the United State’s largest craft breweries in 2022.

Odell clocked in at 22nd largest, down from 20th in 2021, while CANarchy fell one spot to eighth largest craft beer maker in the nation, according to an annual report from the Brewers Association, a Boulder-based trade group.

In 2021, Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing Co. was 47th on BA’s list but did not appear in 2022’s top 50.

“Breweries that managed to move up the list organically are often those that are adding incremental growth to the category,” BA’s chief economist Bart Watson said in a prepared statement. “Both beer and craft need to create new occasions and new beer lovers to find growth.”

The market for craft beers saw some tightening in 2022, according to BA, as overall production remained flat from 2021 at 24.3 million barrels amid an overall beer market contraction of 3%.

“2022 presented small brewers with a number of challenges, including rising operating and material costs and increasing competition, particularly in distribution,” Watson said in a statement. “In this maturing and competitive market, collective growth for the category is hard to come by.”

Still, the overall number of operating craft breweries saw an all-time peak in 2022 at 9,552. 

Those operations are responsible for 189,413 direct jobs, up 9% from 2021.

BA tallied 549 new brewery openings and 319 closings in 2022.

“The relatively low closure rate reflects both the solid demand for fuller flavored local beer as well as the versatility and flexibility of small brewers,” Watson said in a statement.

Source: BizWest

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