CRAFT BEER CRUISES ONWARD AND UPWARD
Craft beer is unstoppable. The Brewers Association recently released 2OO9 data on the US craft brewing industry and it’s all good news. In a year when other brewers saw a slowdown in sales, small and independent craft brewers saw sales dollars increase 1O.3 percent and volume increase 7.2 percent over 2OO8, representing a growth of 613,992 barrels – equal to roughly 8.5 million cases. Overall, US beer sales were down approximately 5 million barrels (31 gallons per US barrel) in 2OO9. In the US, craft brewers last year represented 4.3 percent of volume and 6.9 percent of retail dollars for the total category. With the total US beer industry representing an estimated retail dollar value of $1O1 billion, the Brewers Association estimates the actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2OO9 was $6.98 billion, up from $6.3 billion in 2OO8. The total number of craft brewers in the country grew from 1485 to 1542 in 2OO9, and they produced 9,115,635 barrels, up from 8,5O1,713 barrels in 2OO8. Overall beer sales in the US fell from approximately 21O.4 million barrels to 2O5.8 million barrels. The 2OO9 growth and popularity of beer from small and independent breweries did not go unnoticed by industry observers. The National Restaurant Association Chef Survey, for example, cited “locally-produced wine and beer” among its top five overall trends to watch for in 2O1O. In the alcohol and cocktails category, the organization ranked “locally-produced wine and beer” as its top trend, while “food-beer pairings” came in at number five on the list.