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U.S. Craft Brewing Sees Huge Growth; Tops 5% Market Share

Light beer is going down
by The Drink Nation on Mar 30, 2012 in Beer
U.S. Craft Brewing Sees Huge Growth; Tops 5% Market Share

Good news in the fight for real beer: light is out and craft is in. According to data just released by The Brewers Association, there are now more than 2000 breweries operating in the U.S. That’s more than an 11% increase in the past year alone, and a huge surge since a low of just 80 breweries in the 1980s.

What does the explosion of micro- and nano-breweries mean on the retail end? Sales of craft beer rose 15% from 2010 to 2011 (corresponding to a 13% growth in volume). This expansion of the small batch niche is happening even as the beer market as a whole is contracting.

Overall, if you include macro-brewers Molson Coors, SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch Inbev, the U.S. beer market saw a 1.5% decline in volume. What is losing ground is the wholly American invented category of light beer – which makes up four of the five best-selling labels in the country. Craft suds now account for more than 5% of the total market share by volume and more than 9% by sales.

The Brewers Association cautions that these numbers are only preliminary, noting that a full report will be released this summer, but they are reason to celebrate. Check out some more stats in the nifty infographic below.

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