Monday, April 4, 2011

Craft Beer Market Growing

Chicago Tribune:
A homegrown revolution that took root in the 1980s, the craft beer industry grew from a handful of pioneers to more than 1,750 breweries in 2010. Early leaders included Sierra Nevada, Samuel Adams and Anchor Brewing, which was sold last year to the Griffin Group, a private-equity firm.

Leveraging local roots, flavorful, sometimes fanciful, products and quirky marketing, craft beer accounted for 5 percent of beer sales nationally in 2010. With mainstream sales flat, some analysts think that share could reach 20 percent within the decade.

"Craft beer is kind of a rising tide right now," said Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer's Insights. "It's really in the sweet spot of where more consumers are going, and that seems to be toward the sort of innovation, flavor and variety that the craft brewers are epitomizing."

Craft beer sales came in at just under 10 million barrels in 2010, an 11 percent annual increase, while total U.S. beer sales were down 1 percent, to 203.5 million barrels, according to the Brewers Association. Some 30 percent of craft beer is sold on tap, three times the industry average.

With a higher price point — most sell for about $9 per six-pack — craft beer revenue is relatively stronger, accounting for $7.6 billion out of $101 billion in total beer sales last year.
This is a bright spot in an otherwise weak beer market.

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