The Brewers Association reported that craft beer grew by 5% in the first half of the year, an impressive figure given that the major brewers are flat – at best – and imports are down a big 9%.
Dollar growth from craft brewers during the first half of 2009 increased 9%, down from 11% growth during the same period in 2008. The 5% growth for the first six months in 2009 is down a bit from last year’s 6.5% growth in the first half of 2008. Barrels sold by craft brewers for the first half of the year is an estimated 4.2 million, compared to 4 million barrels sold in the first half of 2008.
“At a time when many of the giant beer brands are declining, small and independent craft brewers are organically growing their share and slowly gaining shelf and restaurant menu space one glass of craft beer at a time,” said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association.
The U.S. now boasts 1,525 breweries, the highest number in 100 years when consolidation and the run up to Prohibition reduced the number of breweries to 1,498 in 1910. “The U.S. has more breweries than any other nation and produces a greater diversity of beer styles than anywhere else, thanks to craft brewer innovation,” Gatza added.