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Men brewing beer in the craft brewery. Craft breweries and wineries carry an elevated risk for localized fires within their facilities. These explosions can be fueled by chemical agents sitting too close together in storage. They can also spark when employees pile up chemical-soaked rags into a corner haphazardly. As those rags absorb heat, they can combust, creating potentially devastating results. (Credit: FXQuadro/Shutterstock.com)

Brewery and winery owners, whose resilience was severely tested in recent years, had a reason to raise their glasses in celebration in 2021. Craft brewery sales volume grew by 8% year-over-year, with retail dollar sales of craft now comprising nearly 27% of the $100 billion U.S. beer market. Premium wine enjoyed 21% year-over-year sales growth — the highest in six years — with 2022 expected to be strong as well.

While the rebound is much needed, brewery and winery operators also face economic and logistical challenges that are tormenting a variety of industries. Supply chain crunches, labor shortages and other pressing issues have changed the risk profile for these businesses, leading to a shift in the types and frequency of top claims. Agents and brokers should be aware of the shifting landscape so they can advise their clients on the most current and appropriate risk mitigation strategies.

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