Santa Fe brokerage and real estate firm Luna Capital has released a report analyzing a shift in New Mexico’s craft brewing scene that it says indicates "moderate growth" and maturation.

"Within New Mexico, top brands that are well established are seeing growth of 15 percent to 40 percent, and should continue due to local support, regional growth, customer loyalty and quality craft beer," the report states.

Recently, craft brewers have become a bright spot for the industry.

Nationally, craft breweries saw an overall increase in beer production of 5 percent, despite the fact that total beer sales were down 1 percent in 2017, according to the Brewers Association.

Overall, craft beer growth accounted for $26 billion in the industry and saw a total beer market share of 12.7 percent.

The Luna Capital report emphasizes that as the industry continues to mature, the amount of competition increases as the amount of consumers typically stagnates. This is due to the fact that the amount of beer drinkers is not growing as fast as the amount of breweries entering the market.

"As new breweries come online, per brewery-growth has slowed significantly in the last few years, leaving many microbreweries well below their projected growth numbers," the report states.

It also detailed production and consumption trends.

According to the report, beers with lower bitterness levels are seeing a renaissance both in the realm of lagers and pilsners as well as IPAs. On-premise consumption is also becoming more popular and is one of the reasons for craft beer’s growth, according to New Mexico Brewers Guild Executive Director John Gozigian.

"Those big guys, they can’t have taprooms and breweries in all these different states,” he said in an April interview. “People like to be able to walk down the street to their local brewery.”

This trend seems to have caught the attention of large companies.

Over the last several years, St. Louis beer giant Anheuser Busch-InBev, the world’s largest producer, has purchased several craft breweries. Its most recent acquisition was the North Carolina-based Wicked Weed brand. Since 2011, Anheuser Busch-InBev has bought 10 similar companies.

In 2017, New Mexico had 67 craft breweries that were responsible for producing 116,023 barrels of beer and a $333 million economic impact, according to the Brewers Association.

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