The craft brewing industry has continued its strong growth in the first half of 2015, according to new mid-year data released by the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small, independent American craft brewers. American craft beer production volume increased 16 percent during the first half of the year, it says.

From January through the end of June 2015, approximately 12.2 million barrels of beer were sold by craft brewers, up from 10.6 million barrels during the first half of 2014, the association says.

“Industry growth is occurring in all regions and stemming from a mix of sources including various retail settings and a variety of unique brewery business models,” said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, in a statement. “The continued growth of small and independent brewers illustrates that additional market opportunities and demand are prevalent, although competition in the sector is certainly growing and the need for brewers to differentiate and produce world- class, high-quality beer is more important than ever.”

As of June 30, the United States has 3,739 breweries operating, which is an increase of 699 breweries over the same time period last year, the association says. Also, craft brewers currently employ an estimated 115,469 full-time and part-time workers, the association says.

“More and more Americans are discovering the joys of enjoying fresh beer produced by their neighborhood brewery,” Watson added. “By supporting local, small and independent craft breweries, beer lovers are gradually returning the United States to the system of localized beer production that existed for much of our nation’s history.”