The Civil Life Brewing Co. is spending more than $3 million to expand its south St. Louis brewpub into a new building next door and add a beer canning line — not because sales are growing but because they’re flat.
Civil Life’s co-founder and owner Jake Hafner is one of several brewers in the region grappling with how to compete amid a growth boom, with two breweries opening every day somewhere in the U.S. There are nearly 6,000 craft breweries in the U.S. today, up from 1,460 just a decade ago.
“The percentage of craft beer drinkers is slowing down, and at the same time you have all these breweries opening. Our goal is to position ourselves in a very competitive market, and one that’s going to get even more competitive,” Hafner said.
Other craft breweries with loyal followings are facing the same predicament. O’Fallon Brewery moved its base of operations from O’Fallon, Mo., to a new and expanded brewery and tasting room in Maryland Heights in mid-2015.
And there’s more competition to come. There are currently 81 craft breweries in Missouri now, nearly double the 43 craft breweries that existed in the state in 2011, and 58 more are in the planning stages.
“We see a pie that isn’t growing getting chopped up by more players,” said Schlafly CEO James Pendegraft.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch