Craft brewers saw record sales in 2009

If you tipped a microbrew in 2009, then you did your part for the craft brewing industry.

If you tipped more than one - and you know who you are - then you helped contribute to a record year that saw both production and sales figures grow.

Craft brewers sold 9.1 million barrels of beer last year, up 7.2 percent from 8.5 barrels in 2008, according to the Boulder-based Brewers Association. Sales numbers, meanwhile, grew 10.3 percent from $6.3 billion in 2008 to $7 billion in 2009.

And all of it happened in a year when overall, U.S. beer sales dropped by about 5 million barrels, or 2.2 percent, to 205.8 million barrels.

Craft brewers now own about 4.3 percent of the total beer market in this country, but 6.9 percent of the retail dollars.

Looking for a way to celebrate? Here's one of many ways to do so: Head over the Rackhouse Pub (208 South Kalamath Street, 720-570-7824) and try one of the twenty or so Colorado brews they have on tap. Or spend $7 for a sampling of four.

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