Craft beer sales buck the industry gloom

Craft beer sales buck the industry gloom

Sales of craft beers from small-time brewers have continued to outpace the stagnant US beer market, growing by 12% in value in the first half of 2010, official figures show.

The rise follows on from a 9% increase in value sales in the same period of 2009, said the Brewers' Association today (3 August).

Volume sales of craft beers also rose for the six months to the end of June, to 4.6m cases from 4.2m in the first half of 2009.

MillerCoors, the second largest brewer in the US, said today that it would focus more resources on its newly-created craft and imported beers division as consumer demand for big beer brands in the US has continued to struggle.

"While craft brewer sales volumes climbed 9% in the first half of 2010, overall US beer industry volume sales are down 2.7% so far,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association.

There are 1,625 registered craft brewers in the US, more than at any time in the last 100 years.

"Entrepreneurs across the land are creating jobs by opening new microbreweries and brewpubs, and we are also seeing many homebrewing hobbyists going pro by starting what have been referred to as nanobreweries," said Gatza.

However, despite the growth, craft beers remain a small proportion of the US beer market. MillerCoors alone sold 34.2m barrels in the first half of 2010.