Craft brewers continue to increase their share of the U.S. beer market. The Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based trade group, reported Monday that both volume and sales shares for craft brewers grew last year.
Craft brewers now control 6.5 percent of the market by volume, up from 5.7 percent the previous year. Also, the dollar share rose to 10.2 percent. The retail sales for craft beer was estimated at $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion a year earlier.
Even though the U.S. beer market grew by 1 percent, craft brewers saw their production volume rise 15 percent and its dollar sales climb 17 percent, the association said.
"Beer is a $99 billion industry to which craft brewers are making a significant contribution, with retail sales share hitting double digits for the first time in 2012," association Director Paul Gatza said in a prepared statement. "Small and independent brewers are consistently innovating and producing high quality, flavor-forward craft brewed beer. Americans are not only responding to greater access to these products, but also to the stories and people behind them."
Last year, there were 2,403 breweries nationwide, an increase of 18 percent increase. Nearly 410 breweries opened while 43 closed. Small breweries created an estimated 4,857 more jobs during the year, employing 108,440 workers, compared to 103,583 the year prior.
"On average, we are seeing slightly more than one craft brewery per day opening somewhere in the U.S. and we anticipate even more in the coming year," Gatza said. "There is clearly a thirst in the marketplace for craft brewed beer, as indicated by the continued growth year after year. These small breweries are doing great things for their local communities, the greater community of craft brewers, our food arts culture and the overall economy."