The craft brewing industry has seen major growth in the past few years, and all signs point to further growth. According to a New York Times report, the number of microbreweries — or craft brewers that "produce fewer than six million barrels a year and are less than 25 percent owned by a large beverage maker" — has drastically increased in the past six years. In 2008 there were 1,521 micro brewers, and in 2014 that number grew to over 3,200. There are now so many of them, they are running out of ideas for unique names.
This is in part due to the amount of funding that is becoming available for such companies. In states like Wisconsin and Indiana, there are state-sanctioned crowdfunding sites that "skew heavily towards craft brewery funding." Other breweries have seen great successes on platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. California's Stone Brewing Company even set an Indiegogo record in 2014 when they managed to raise $2.5 million to open an outpost in Germany.
The New York Times write that finally after years of being rejected by private equity firms, the industry is starting to get those types of investors. Since last summer, breweries like SweetWater Brewing (Atlanta, Georgia), Uinta Brewing (Salt Lake City, Utah), and 10 Barrel Brewing (Bend, Oregon) have all sold stakes to various firms. The flood of new investments is due in part to the industry's stellar sales: Craft beer now makes up 14.3 percent "of the $100 billion United States beer market."
It's clear craft beer is here is to stay. Once only obsessed over by serious beer nerds, it's made its way into the mainstream and the demand is high. Delta Airlines recently announced that it was adding beers from seven craft breweries to many of its flights. And if just drinking craft beer is not enough, it's now possible to major in beer making at Western Michigan University.