With the Great American Beer Festival (September 24-26) and the first ever Denver Beer Fest (September 18-27) both around the corner, the craft beer industry's major trade group has released some mid-year statistics on what's been brewing nationwide.
The Brewers Association reports that craft brewers sold 4.2 million barrels of brewski during the first six months of 2009, up from 4 million barrels during the same time period last year. Sales numbers grew by 9 percent over the first half of 2008.
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Even more interesting, however, is the fact that there are now 1,525 breweries in the United States, the most there have been in almost a century, since just before Prohibition. Most of that growth has come in the last twenty years, as there were only about 350 breweries in 1990.
And yet, the $6.3 billion craft beer industry is only about 4 percent (by volume) and 6.3 percent (by sales) of the beer industry as a whole.
Who's doing their part? Well, Oskar Blues, the Lyons/Longmont-based canned beer empire, reported Monday that its production in the first half of 2009 is up 84 percent over the same six months in 2008.