Light beer continues to struggle in the US, but the overall beer market in the country delivered increases in sales by both value and volume last year, according to recent research.

The 2013 Beer Handbook, published this week by Beverage Information Group, has found that the beer market halted a three-year downturn last year, thanks primarily to rising demand among consumers for higher-priced brews. Total volumes in the US rose by 0.8% year-on-year in 2012, hitting 2.9bn 2.25-gallon cases.

While light beer benefited from NPD in the country, the segment fell in value and volume in 2012 for the fourth consecutive year. The super-premium & premium sector increased by 1.6%, while craft beer recorded its biggest rise in a decade, jumping by 13.7% to 185.2m 2.25-gallon cases.

Imported beers rose by 1%.

“Although the beer industry saw positive changes in 2012, challenges still remain,” warned Beverage Information Group. “The beer industry will still see increases in the higher-priced categories such as super-premium, craft and imported beer. It remains to be seen if these gains will help the beer industry maintain 2012's positive direction.”

Earlier today (31 October), Anheuser-Busch InBev posted that its sales volumes in North America in the first nine months of this year fell by 2.8%.