Craft beer sales grow 7 percent, overall beer sales down

Small and independent craft brewers saw sales increase 10.3 percent and volume increase 7.2 percent in 2009, according to data released by the Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo. Overall, U.S. beer sales decreased approximately 5 million barrels in 2009, the association reported.

Craft brewers represented 4.3 percent of volume and 6.9 percent of retail dollars for the total U.S. beer category. The Brewers Association estimates the actual dollar sales from craft brewers amounted to $7 billion, up from $6.3 billion in 2008. Total U.S. beer industry retail value is estimated at $101 billion, the association says.

The total number of U.S. craft brewers grew from 1,485 to 1,542 in 2009, and they produced 9.1 million barrels, which is an increase from the 8.5 million barrels produced in 2008. Overall U.S. beer sales fell from approximately 210.4 million barrels to 205.8 million barrels, the association reports.

“Beer lovers continue to find great value and enjoyment in fuller flavored craft beers,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, in a statement. “Americans have an increasing appreciation of craft beers, and the growing number of brewers behind them. They’re eager to try the latest seasonal release and to sample a variety of beers from different breweries.”

The Brewers Association will present a more extensive analysis of 2009 statistics during its Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago April 7-10. For more information on recent craft beer launches, read “Strength of seasonals help craft beer soar.”

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