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The Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo., released mid-year numbers for America’s small and independent craft brewers. Dollar sales were up 14 percent in the first half of 2012, and volume increased 12 percent during that same time period, the association said.
Craft brewers sold an estimated 6 million barrels in the first six months of 2012, it reported. Despite a number of challenges, including decreased overall beer sales, the mid-year numbers show signs of continued growth for craft breweries. The industry currently provides an estimated 104,000 full-time and part-time jobs, according to the Brewers Association.
“Generally, most craft brewers are continuing to see strong growth in production, sales, brewing capacity and employment, which is to be celebrated during challenged times for many of today’s small businesses,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, in a statement. “Plus, it’s a fact that beer drinkers are responding to the quality and diversity created by small American brewing companies. India pale ales, seasonal beers, Belgian-inspired ales and a range of specialty beers are just a few of the beer styles that are growing rapidly.”
The United States now boasts 2,126 breweries — an increase of 350 additional breweries since June 2011, the association reported. The Brewers Association also tracks breweries in planning as an indicator of potential new entrants into the craft category and lists 1,252 breweries in planning today compared to 725 a year ago. Additionally, the count of craft brewers was at 2,075 as of June 30, showing that 97 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers.
“Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended for the beverage of moderation,” Gatza said. “There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country.”