According to the Brewers Association, small and independent craft brewers continued to gain share on beer industry giants in 2015. Key quote from their press release:
In 2015, craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels, and saw a 13 percent rise in volume and a 16 percent increase in retail dollar value. Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.3 billion, representing 21 percent market share.
The 21% revenue share is up from just 6% in 2008. Also, 2015's craft beer growth was despite an overall decline in beer sales in 2015.
The number of small breweries also increased in 2015 and as the chart below from Bloomberg's I'll Toast to That: U.S. Brewery Count Hits All-Time Record shows, it's at an all-time high.
We've long used the beer industry as an example of how industry structures are becoming more barbell like.
In almost every industry we track we see consolidation resulting in fewer, but much larger, global corporate giants. At the same time, in most industries we are also seeing growing numbers of small businesses and declining numbers of mid-sized businesses. This is resulting is industry structures that take the shape of a barbell in terms of market shares.
We used the beer industry as the main example in our 2008 New Artisan Economy report on how changing industry structures is leading to more small businesses.
The beer industry is an extreme example. Craft brewers control 21% and pretty much the rest of the U.S. market is controlled by 2 giant, global beverage conglomerates - mid sized brewers are pretty much non-existent
But the shift to barbell industry structures is both widespread and accelerating.
The growth of platform companies is helping to drive this acceleration. Key quote from a 2014 Deloitte study on this topic:
... a new economic landscape is beginning to emerge in which a relatively few large, concentrated players will provide infrastructure, platforms, and services that support many fragmented, niche players. In this way, both large players and small will coexist and reinforce each other.
Because it's a bit esoteric, the shift to barbell industrial structures doesn't get a lot of attention.
But it's one of the most important trends we follow and it's creating new opportunities for small businesses and independent workers.
See our industry structure section for more on this topic.