Craft beer sales outstrip US beer market - Craft Brewers Association

Craft beer sales outstrip US beer market - Craft Brewers' Association

Sales of craft beer in the US rose strongly in both volume and value last year, far outpacing the country's two largest brewers, MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Craft beer sales increased by almost 9% in value for the 12 months to the end of December, to US$7.6bn, according to figures published this week by the US Craft Brewers' Association. Volume sales of craft beer outpaced value growth, rising by 12% to 9.95m barrels.

The figures show that craft brewers maintained the sector's momentum in the second half of 2010, following a strong start to the year. The overall US beer market shrank by around 3% in volume in 2010, dragged down by weaker demand for mainstream beers such as Budweiser and Coors Light.

Craft Brewers' Association director Paul Gatza said: "With well over 100 new brewery openings in 2010, plus 618 breweries in planning stages, all signs point to continued growth for the industry." He said that craft beer accounts for 7.6% of US beer market value and 5% of industry volume in the US.

Earlier this year, the Association tripled its production limit for craft brewers, to 6m barrels, in order to continue to accommodate some of the biggest craft brewers, including Boston Beer Co.