The Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo., reports America's small, independent craft brewers still are growing, despite the challenging economic environment. Dollar growth from craft brewers during the first half of 2009 increased 9 percent, down from 11 percent growth during the same period in 2008. Volume of craft brewed beer sold grew 5 percent for the first six months in 2009, compared to 6.5 percent in the first half of 2008. Barrels sold by craft brewers for the first half of the year are an estimated 4.2 million, compared to 4 million barrels sold in the first half of 2008.
"At a time when many of the giant beer brands are declining, small and independent craft brewers are organically growing their share and slowly gaining shelf and restaurant menu space one glass of craft beer at a time," said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. The Brewers Association also announced that the United States now boasts 1,525 breweries, the highest number in 100 years.
"The U.S. has more breweries than any other nation and produces a greater diversity of beer styles than anywhere else, thanks to craft brewer innovation," Gatza added.