Massachusetts Beverage Business



Article By: MBB

WHERE WOULD THE BEER industry be without craft brewing? It may only make up a small percentage of the industry but the craft beer segment has largely been carrying the weight of the beer category on its shoulders. The Brewers Association reported recently that the volume of craft beer sold in the first half of 2OO7 rose 11 percent compared to this same period in 2OO6, and dollar growth increased 14 percent. For the first time ever craft beer has exceeded more than a 5 percent dollar share of total beer sales. Overall, the US beer industry sold one million more barrels in the first half of 2OO7 compared to 2OO6, with 4OO,OOO of these new barrels produced by craft breweries. This equates to 3.768 million barrels of craft beer sold in the first two quarters of 2OO7 compared to 3.368 million barrels sold in the first half of 2OO6. Scan data from Information Resources, Inc. provide additional data points that confirm strength for the segment. Craft beer sales in the supermarket channel through July 15 of this year showed a 17.4 percent increase in dollar sales compared to the same period in 2OO6. This growth in sales was higher than any other alcohol beverage category. "The 14OO small, independent and traditional craft brewers in the US have hit their stride," said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association. "United States craft brewers are making many of the world's best beers, and the marketplace is responding." Coupled with the growth statistics has been a tidal wave of media coverage in the first half of 2OO7 including a July 3 episode on NBC's Today Show stating, "Beer is the new wine and can go with just about any food". And beer is like wine in more ways than just food pairings. In some instances, a single bottle of craft beer can rival or beat the price of a decent bottle of wine. Of course, for that kind of money, chances are you're getting a brew with a substantial alcohol level as well. When you consider all that craft beer has to offer, it's no wonder it's doing so well. And really, what's not to like?

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