Dollar sales for small and independent craft brewers in the United States increased 12 percent in the first half of 2010, up from 9 percent growth during the same time period last year, according to the Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo.

Craft brewers also saw volume increases in the first six months of 2010, the association reported. Volume of craft beer sold grew 9 percent in the first half of 2010, compared to 5 percent growth during the same time period last year. Craft brewers have sold about 4.6 million barrels so far in 2010, compared to 4.2 million barrels sold in the first half of 2009.

“While craft brewer sales volume climbed 9 percent in the first half of 2010, overall U.S. beer industry volume sales are down 2.7 percent so far,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, in a statement. “There is a movement by beer lovers to the innovative and flavorful beers created by America’s small and independent craft brewers. More people are starting to think of craft-brewed beer first when they buy in restaurants, bars and stores.”

The dollar sales and volume growth have come with an increasing number of breweries entering the U.S. market. Since July 2009, 100 additional breweries have entered the market, bringing the total number of breweries in the United States to 1,625, according to the Brewers Association.

“Super-tiny microbreweries or brew pubs, that make beer for a very localized network of taverns and stores, are starting to become a trend, primarily in the states that allow self-distribution as a means of getting beer to market,” Gatza said, in a statement.