Analysis: Craft distilling going nowhere but up

Anyone who has been paying attention knows the craft distillery movement in America is on the upswing. The question is, how far is up?

According to industry figures, there were 254 producing distilleries at the end of 2011, with more scheduled to come on line this year. A market analysis just released by Coppersea Distilling LLC, projects the industry will grow more than 300% over the next decade.

"Should current growth trends continue, the number of U.S. craft distillers will certainly grow to over 1,000," said Michael Kinstlick, CEO of Coppersea Distilling, located in West Park, Ulster County, NY. "Craft distilling is following the lead of the farm winery and craft brewery industries, which have both grown to support thousands of small firms."

To show the continued upward spiking of new firms, there were only a total of 24 in 2000. By contrast 50 new firms opened in 2011 alone.

"The tremendous activity and excitement in craft distilling has been increasing year-by-year," said Bill Owens, president of the American Distilling Institute. "Customers are looking to smaller producers for unique and more authentic spirits. Clearly, American craft distillers are only getting started, and this paper points to how far they can go.”

Frank Coleman, senior vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS), said, "The rapid growth of craft distilling in the U.S. market in many ways reflects both the recent modernization of the supplier tier and an important grassroots development in the public policy arena. The Council recognized this trend by creating a Craft Distiller Affiliate Membership program, which has grown from 12 founding members to almost 60 in two years. This paper provides important perspective on this fast-moving segment of the spirits industry.”

 Craft distillers operate in 45 states. The complete "white paper" from Coppersea Distilling can be downloaded here.

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