2021 may have been the second year of the Covid pandemic, but the brewers have been far from idle. In fact, the number of new beer to hit the market far surpassed that of 2020, and even set a new record for new releases. Let’s take a look at the stats.
*Please note: the figures refer to the number of new labels released, not beer sales or volume of beer brewed*
A total of 462 new beers were released in 2021 – that’s a 46% Y-o-Y increase compared to 2020.
Broken down by style, the releases are as follows:
- 164 new beers in the broader IPA category, out of which:
– 74 are IPAs
– 39 are NEIPAs
– 42 are Double/Imperial IPAs
– 9 are Triple IPAs
- 112 new beers in the Stout/Porter/Dark Ale category
– out of which 86 beers were Imperial Stouts
- 63 new sour beers (including sour IPAs and spontaneously fermented beers)
- 56 new beers in the Lager/Pilsner category (also includes Kölsch)
- 20 new Belgian-style beers
- 19 new Pale Ales
- 11 new Barleywines
- 6 new Amber and Red Ales
- Only 3 new releases in the Wheat Beer category
Taking a closer look at the entries, the following data stands out:
- The broad IPA category has seen a mild recovery compared with the previous year, amounting to 35% of 2021’s total new beer releases. In 2020, IPAs made up 32% of the total headcount, a noticeable drop compared to 40% in 2019.
- Stouts and Porters (including Imperial/Double) have seen a spectacular boom in popularity, seeing a 93% increase in new labels compared to 2020.
- 41 of 2021’s new releases were barrel aged beers (plus an additional 3 beers that were only aged on oak chips) – a significant increase compared to just 15 BA beers in 2020.
- The number of sour beer releases has increased by 70% in 2021, from 37 new releases in 2020.
- 266 of the beers released in 2021 have no adjuncts (BA and oak chips notwithstanding), out of which:
– 140 are IPAs without any adjuncts
– 18 are Imperial Stouts with no adjuncts
– for those too lazy to do the maths, that means that 196 of the beers released in 2021 had some form of Reinheitsgebot non-compliant ingredients, from lactose, to coffee and cocoa, to fruit, herbs and spices.
- Out of the 20 new Belgian beer releases, only 3 are Saisons and 2 are Dry-Hopped Farmhouse Ales.
- 47 of this year’s new releases were collaborations between breweries, but also gypsy brewers and homebrewers (this does not include custom labels and beers brewed for bars/restaurants).
- 69 of the new beers in 2021 were released by gypsy and contract brewers (not taking collaborations into account).
We also made this nice, sexy graph to give you a better picture:
Other data worth gleaning:
- Hop Hooligans had the highest number of new releases in 2021, with 96 new beers. Bereta were close behind, with 80 new releases. Both figures include collaborations with other breweries.
- Bers Nova have had the most interesting portfolio diversification, ranging from smoked beers, fruit beers and using wild hops, on top of switching to cans.
- Despite the very high number of new releases in 2021, it’s worth pointing out that many of the new beers were the result of split batches. As an example, Hophead‘s Analog series was the same base beer split 7 ways. Similar examples helped bulk up the numbers, so the fact that 2021 has seen so many new beers is not an indicator that the industry has recovered after the blow dealt by 2020.
- Bere Noah is still the highest rated brewery on Untappd, with Blackout still hot on its heels in the second place.
In terms of new breweries, the following names joined the industry in 2021:
- Stand-alone breweries:
– Ironic Beer
– Mad Lads Brewing Co. (along with the Dunăreana brand)
– Lucretia Schooner
– Vultur, with the MUSAI Bere Artizanală brand (not to be confused with MUSAI Brewery)
- Gypsy/contract brewers:
– Ultima Brewery
– Strange Companion
– MUSAI Brewery
– Gravity Rise Brewing
– Bere Artizanală Acord
– Passenger Brewery
– Primordial Brewing
– Birofil Gypsy Brewer
– Bere Made in Câmpenești
The following breweries opened their own facilities after previously brewing as contractors/gypsy brewers:
The following breweries have an unknown status (we’re not sure if they started producing in 2021, whether their maximum brewing capacity is below 5000hl per year, if they are stand-alone or offshoots of other breweries), but we’ll list them anyway:
That’s it from us.