I was recently crunching some numbers about beer production in the United States (data from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau), and I noticed pretty significant seasonality in the production of beer:

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Average production peaks in June (on average 18.1 million barrels) and is lowest in November and December (on average 14.1 million barrels). Are these ~25% seasonal swings in production based on some technical aspect of the brewing process, or are they based on something else (e.g. demand)?

  • 1
    You would think that with the state of industrialization that there wouldn't be such big swings. Brewing before refrigeration didn't even happen during the summer months, so I doubt it's a 'traditional' variation. Intriguing data! Sep 15, 2015 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


One thing you should take into consideration is that this chart certainly represents macro breweries production, once they still have the vast majority of the market-share, as opposite to craft breweries. So, we are talking here mainly about light lagers, known to be consumed as a refreshing beverage.

So, to me, it's pretty clear that the production increases as the weather warms up, peaking at the summer, and then falls down again towards chiller seasons. Considering distribution and other delaying factors, the peak at June would match the peak consumption at mid-July through mid-August.

PS: I don't live in USA, and this is merely a theory I came up with, but which seems feasible to me.

  • This is exactly right, at the brewery where I am, we start ramping up production about Easter, and it begins to trail off after Labour Day. Just supply and demand.
    – John
    Sep 23, 2015 at 19:25

I think the answer you are looking for is not so much seasonal as it is holidays.

As you have your summer holiday in the middle of the year, it is the time when most alcohol is highest in demand.

The small spikes in your graph around December indicates the increase in production for new-year's parties.

As I am on the opposite side of the world, our peak production is the three months leading to December, for our Summer Holiday.

  • Interesting, though November and December tied for the lowest average beer production since 2010, and there are a number of holidays during those months. I'll try to dig out some beer demand data for the United States to see how it matches up.
    – josliber
    Sep 15, 2015 at 18:49

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