Craft brewing in the US bucked the downward trend for the country's larger brewers last year, according to recent figures.

Late yesterday (26 March), the Brewers Association (BA), which represents small and independent brewers in the US, said that craft beer sales in 2011 posted a 15% rise in value and a 13% lift in volumes. Craft brewers accounted for 5.68% of total US beer volumes last year, the trade association said. In 2010, that share totalled 4.97%.

In value terms, sales hit US$8.7bn last year, while volume sales of craft beer came in at 11.5m barrels.

“While the overall beer market experienced a 1.3% volume decrease in 2011, craft brewing saw significant growth, surpassing 5% total market volume share for the first time,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that … Americans are developing a strong taste for high-quality, small-batch beer from independent brewers.”

A total of 1,989 breweries were operating in the US in 2011, the trade body said, representing an 11% rise on 2010.

The BA is set to publish its full 2011 industry analysis in the May/June issue of The New Brewer.

For a definition of the term 'craft brewer', click here.

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